New not-for-profit wants to honour the fallen, educate on PTSD

Founding director of Honour Our Fallen, Rick McCarthy. Photo: Charli Shield.
Founding director of Honour Our Fallen, Rick McCarthy. Photo: Charli Shield.

A newly formed Highlands not-for-profit has been created to support ex-service people and honour the memory of those who fought for Australia.

‘Honour Our Fallen’ is a project that brings together local schools to research and locate the graves of ex-service people in cemeteries throughout the Highlands.

Launching on Remembrance Day, November 11 2017, organisers are asking the community to participate by logging details online of family members, friends or loved ones that served in any conflict since the Boer War. 

The organisation will then allocate certain graveyard sites to certain schools, and students will be given an Australian flag to place on the gravesites of ex-service people in the lead up to Anzac Day 2018 – the 100th anniversary of World War I. 

Founder of Honour Our Fallen, Rick McCarthy said he hoped the project would instill a sense of pride about those who have served in the community, and in turn provide support for ex-service people who may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

“It’s a mission to honour the memory of all veterans and to build pride in our community, particularly in our youth, about the virtues of service to our nation and respect for those who died protecting our freedom and way of life,” he said.

“This should lead to greater recognition and respect for those presently serving in uniform.”

Mr McCarthy, who fought in the Vietnam War and was awarded an Order of Australia medal in 2015, said the project was both a coping mechanism for his own struggles with PTSD and one way he could support other serving members of the community feel respected and supported. 

“Earlier in the year I travelled to America, where people have such great respect for their soldiers,” he said.

“When I came home, I knew I had to do something to encourage people to respect [service people] and support them, many of whom are suffering from PTSD.”

There are six high schools that have already signed up to participate: Bowral High School, Oxley College, Moss Vale High, Chevalier College, Southern Highlands Christian School and Frensham School. 

Organisers said they hoped to encourage veteran groups, historical associations, schools and families of deceased veterans to participate in the activity. 

You can submit a ‘flag request’ for deceased service people you would like to be honoured by visiting www.honourourfallen.com