Remembrance Day: How Do We Remember?

By Di Young, Trauma and Addictions Specialist

November 11, 2021

We Will Remember Them

Di Young, Trauma and Addictions Specialist

Every year on the 11th of November we acknowledge the bravery and sacrifice of those who served our country and died fighting to protect our freedom. A minutes’ silence is observed and dedicated to those soldiers on this special day at 11am. At South Pacific Private, we take this time to reflect on the loss of Australian lives from all wars and conflicts, and pay our respects.

Today in Australia, we have seen a resurgence in interest and commemoration for the sacrifices that soldiers made. Diggers and members of the Defence Force are acknowledged for their sacrifices in yester-year and in more recent conflicts. Remembrance Day is not a holiday; we do not have parades or marches; what we have is a minutes’ silence.

Many of our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and husbands and wives still today make sacrifices for our right to live in a free and democratic world – and they are more often silent about their horrific experiences.

How do we support them – those soldiers who silently bear the pain and trauma of living through war, losing comrades and friends as they fought and continue to fight for our freedoms?

My father was one. Silently he tried to drink and gamble his pain away. It didn’t work. He would often talk, through his inebriated lens of ‘mans’ inhumanity to man’. It was to a child’s eye nonsensical. Until he too died much too young and papers were found detailing an extraordinary life lived for 28 years in the services. Sailors Records, in Canberra, as they were then known, provided a long list of medals bestowed on my father, for many acts he would never speak of… those medals thrown in the back of an old ‘globite’ suitcase now hang on my wall with his photo with three mates on horseback in front of the Sphinx in Egypt. I pay tribute to his silence and his honour. He was a proud and strong man. My dad.

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I often think though; what would his life (and mine) be like, if he and many others of his generation were given the time and space to unpack their trauma? To cry and grieve those losses buried so deep within. To shout and scream their pain at the inhumanity of it all…

We today acknowledge them. And offer them an opportunity to tell their stories. It is what we offer at South Pacific Private – a trauma-informed hospital with a program specifically designed to not shy away from the pain.

Interestingly, psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk says that “trauma is not the story of something that happened back then.” He says; “it’s the current imprint of that pain, horror, and fear living inside people.”

The trauma is often buried. It is a silent killer – it comes out sideways and sometimes not at all related to the issue at hand. Trauma needs to be spoken about, loudly and clearly. Trauma needs to be felt, acknowledged and unpacked, so it can be resolved.

We are here to help in whatever way we can.

We are with you in the tough moments – in your silence and grief.

We see you and we hear you.

We remember.

To learn more about South Pacific Private’s comprehensive approach to trauma treatment, contact us now on 1800 063 332 or take one of our tailored self-assessments.

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Learn more about key indicators of addiction, trauma and mental health conditions by taking an assessment for yourself, or on behalf of a loved-one.

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