A bitterly cold Australian winter morning met the 1104 Japanese Prisoners of War who took part in the infamous Cowra Breakout 75 years ago.
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An equally chilly morning met those who gathered on Monday morning at wreath-laying ceremonies that capped off a weekend of commemorations.
At an early morning ceremony, Secretary for the 75th Breakout Anniversary Commemorations, Lawrance Ryan, told those gathered of the catalyst for the prisoners actions.
"Within days the Japanese POW population would be split and soldiers below the rank of Lance Corporal would be sent to Hay, but they did not want to be separated," he said.
"The decision would be one that sparked the fire, the reason needed by the Japanese to rebel against their captors and die in a frantic charge of the perimeter fences that would erase the shame of captivity for ever.
"As we stand here, remember those men who died at this spot, remember their fear, their inner torment, remember their sacrifice for their country and remember the horror of war.
"But also remember their terrible sacrifice was in itself a trigger for something unique, for out of their sacrifice, their needless deaths, has developed a sense of understanding, respect and reconciliation between nations that produced the Cowra of today," he said.
Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West, said it was wonderful to see so many people gather in Cowra and prepared to be part of such a significant anniversary.
"The importance of this event is not to celebrate war, but to celebrate and recognise peace," he said.
"What better way to do it than at this beautiful, quiet part of the world where we can sit back and imagine what it might have been like 75 years ago when the peace and tranquility was shattered by people looking to escape.
"This site remains, I hope, a reflection of our history. A reflection that will serve us well into the future where we can reflect and tell the story in a modest but appropriate way.
"We don't glorify it, we understand the difference in cultures, heritage and histories and we learn from that so our children and grandchildren will live in a world of peace, understanding and reconciliation."
Did you attend the commemorations?
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