Year 10 student Mary Ghribian visited Europe’s World War I battle fields after being chosen to represent the NSW Premier during the 100th anniversary events.
Mary joined students from other schools to gain a glimpse of what war was like, beyond what she could learn from the internet, textbook or a picture.
After visiting the Australian war memorial in London she traveled to Belgium where she truly came to appreciate our dedicated service men and women.
“My favourite memory was being a part of the Menin Gate Ceremony, where I laid a wreath amongst many other spectators, I didn't feel nervous or embarrassed,” she said.
“I felt so honoured and proud to be representing not only Australia and Delany College but also our diligent ANZAC’s who fought 100 years ago.”
The student group then got a taste of what a WWI soldier’s life was like: eating basic rations, wearing the Australian WWI uniform, carrying packs, pointing rifles, and even throwing dummy grenades.
From all the spectacular experiences, one experience that was so overpowering for Mary was visiting over 10 cemeteries each containing more than 100 bodies and or names of soldiers.
“What made it difficult for me was putting a name to a number, so often we hear that 5, 200 men died in this battle, and another 10,000 in this battle, but so little do we ever hear the names of these warriors.
“The life of these heroes and the experiences of these Australian patriots, being a part of this journey allowed me to reflect on each name that I walked past, and further understand their life not only on the battlefields but also in Australia.
“After being a part of the Premiers ANZAC Scholarship 2017, I now have a greater sense of appreciation of what our soldiers did for us. It really opened my eyes to see and further acknowledge the sacrifice they made.
“The final message that I'd like to leave with is that this is now not only my legacy to remember but ours, Delany College, to make sure that our generation remember.
“In the face of unimaginable sadness, it's easy to look away. But the only thing we can do to honour those who were left behind is to remember them.”