'We will always remember'
IN BEAUTIFUL sunshine at Alexandra, Victoria, the third annual Truck Drivers Memorial took place on the Saturday before the town's 21st annual truck show.
A collaboration between the show organisers, the town and Uniting Ministry, the memorial - as in others around the country - offers succour and friendship to those involved in the trucking industry.
Eleven names were added to the wall this year: Gary Cullinan, Robert Cullinan, Richard William Harrison, Graham Harrison, Richard Maxwell Kidd, Wayne Martin, John Harrison, Shannon Lee Wallace, Gayle Little, Robert Dixon and Maxwell Robertson.
"Memories lay down threads that entwine with the fabric of our lives. Memories reflect our emotions, whether sad, remorseful, proud or happy. They each have their place and play their role in shaping who we are as individuals and as communities. Memories bring us together. They bind us and form part of our shared culture.
"This memorial wall now bears 122 names. Those names carry with them so many memories for families and friends. They now form part of our own history here in Alexandra,” Murrindindi councillor Margaret Ray said.
"From you we learn so much about the value of family, the value of friends and of community. By coming together we can strengthen each other and our society.”
What has been created in Rotary Park and in the community of Alexandra is so much more than just a memorial. It is a place to celebrate the lives of those people who served Australia in ways that often go unnoticed. When the unthinkable occurs it is so important to provide a place where these people can be celebrated and remembered.
As so often happens it is the small communities and the local organisations who step up and create something that is bigger than the sum of its parts.
That's certainly the case here in Alexandra.
The vested bodies have created something more than just bricks and stone. It's a place of reflection, a weekend of mateship as a community and as an industry. Most importantly, it is the offer of ongoing support services for those who are struggling.
Outside of this service the memorial - the actual steel and stone arches - has become a public landmark, a place for public reflection throughout the year, not just for the widows, families and friends of those commemorated on the wall, but by many others who travel through and visit Alexandra.
The memorial is a space and a place which has been adopted by the Alexandra community, local residents feel a deep sense of pride in hosting the memorial, and of their connection to the transport industry.
Among the speakers was Naarah Harrison who spoke bravely of her beloved father, John, widely known as 'The Politician up the Road'.
Karlene Little spoke on behalf of her sister, Gayle, who passed away in a trucking accident along with her co-driver, Shannon 'Shambles' Wallace on March 5, 2016.
Ceremonies of remembrance such as this are an important way for people to connect, to express their grief and to remember those lost. We are not alone in this. We stand together in remembering and in taking action.