STAFF and students at Mt Maria College, Petrie, paused to honour and pay respect to lost diggers at an emotional Remembrance Day service in Our Lady of the Way Church.
Special guest at the college’s “To Those Who Have Fallen Re-membrance Ceremony” was Suz-anne Thomas, mother of Sapper James Martin who was killed in Afghanistan last year.
Ms Thomas flew from Perth, where she lives, for the special tribute to her son.
Also in attendance was Sapper Dylan Young, who was with James when he and two other Australian soldiers were shot and killed by a rogue Afghan soldier.
James was the youngest soldier to be killed since the Vietnam War.
After a multimedia presentation on the history of Remembrance Day and the wearing of poppies, and an address from Warrant Officer Rob Dolan, wreaths were laid in tribute to Diggers past and present, including James, and in memory of former Mt Maria teacher Bill Eneberg, student Bradley Woodward and parent Jennifer Bradley.
Tears flowed as Ms Thomas spoke about her son, his youth, his friends, his passions, his love of music and his decision to join the Australian Army.
She read from letters she received while James was stationed in Afghanistan, and told of the comfort she received from the many letters school students had sent her.
Ms Thomas said it was great to hear how the words she spoke touched the lives of others.
“It’s James’ words that I’m putting out there,” she said.
“It’s like he’s still present, because his words are still touching people and that means a great deal to me.”
Principal Sam Puglisi said it was an emotional and significant ceremony for the many people, including parents and former servicemen and women, who attended the service.
“We felt so honoured that Susanne has come to our college to attend the service and we’ll certainly be very keen to participate in this next year,” he said.