As Redcliffe RSL Deputy President Karen Hemers leads commemorations on Remembrance Day, she will be thinking of her father but also the countless others who have made enormous sacrifices to defend our country and way of life.
The RSL’s service at Redcliffe’s Anzac Place will begin at 10.45am as veterans, families and a grateful community pause to remember.
Mrs Hemers says those who cannot make it to the service can still pay their respects by observing a moment’s silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month.
“It’s not a day we take as a holiday, it’s just a day we stop and remember the people who have helped us get to where we are now,” she says.
“It’s about remembering not just the ones who have gone in years past, back in the world wars, which is where it all started. It’s remembering all of them from Afghanistan, East Timor … all past conflicts … and those who are still here but experiencing problems as a result of their service.
“It’s remembering everybody. It’s remembering all the sacrifices that the men and women in all services have made for us to live in the country we live in now – a peaceful and stable country.”
That will be her central message at the service.
“That’s how I feel. I feel so lucky to be living in this country,” she says.
Mrs Hemers will also speak about the significance of the poppy in commemorations and how the poem, In Flanders Fields, by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae inspired their use by American woman Moina Michael in 1918 to raise money.
“It was to raise money for the veterans, to help their families and basically that’s what we do … we sell poppies and the money we make goes to Legacy and it all goes to the families of veterans. It continues on,” she says.
Mrs Hemers joined the Army in 1975, 25 years to the day her father John Gunst’s military career began. Mr Gunst, who died 12 years ago, was heavily involved in Redcliffe RSL.
“I was an ‘Army brat’ and I just followed in my father’s footsteps. I tried to get into the corps that he was in, didn’t get in but ended up as a movements and pay clerk,” she recalls.
“I miss him so much. He was a great influence in my life. He was in SAS and signals and did Vietnam twice, Borneo, Laos … he did all that. For the first eight years of my life, I hardly ever saw him, only when he came home on R and R.
“I was taking after my father and the reason I got on the board (of Redcliffe RSL) was because of him as well.”
Mrs Hemers served in the Army from 1975-81, when she left after having two children.
She cherishes her time in the service and says there are great education and development opportunities for the current generation.
Anyone wanting to attend the Redcliffe RSL Remembrance Day service is welcome. The service starts at 10.45am and people can arrive anytime after 10am. As is usually the case for Remembrance Day, there is no march and there will be no road closures.
Location: Clayton Park, corner Main St and Moreton Tce, Beachmere
Bray Park – Strathpine
Location: Pine Rivers Memorial Bowls Club, corner Sparkes and Francis roads, Bray Park
Location: Korea Place, Toorbul Rd, Bongaree
Caboolture – Morayfield and Districts
Location: King St, Caboolture
Location: Opposite Library, Captain Cook Pde, Deception Bay
Pine Rivers District
Location: North Leagues Club - Memorial Gardens, 1347 Anzac Ave, Kallangur
Location: Anzac Place, Redcliffe Pde, Redcliffe
Location: Samford RSL, corner Main and Progress streets, Samford
Location: Woodford Memorial Park, 123 Archer St, Woodford
For more locations, visit the RSL Queensland website