Navy veteran brought to tears by six-year-old’s letter

NAVY veteran Ken Traill was brought to tears when a six-year-old reminded him he would not be alone on Anzac Day.

The veteran of Borneo, Malaya and Vietnam received a letter from Redlynch State College student Jakob Cross.

"It came out of the blue," Mr Traill, 77, said.

The former sailor, who served for 37 years in the navy, said the letter was a first.

"I thought it was great; it brought a tear to my eye," Mr Traill said.

"To think that kids are doing this and are being taught of the sacrifice that was made. I thought it was just great.

"This was the first time that I have received a letter from a student. I thought it was wonderful."

Ken Traill
Ken Traill

Mr Traill would normally be spending Saturday in the company of mates and renewing the bonds forged through service at sea. This year will be very different.

"It is pretty hard," Mr Traill said.

"But we have a flagpole and we will be doing a service in the driveway.

"I haven't caught up with any of them since we went into isolation but I'd say they are feeling the same way.

"I'm sure they will do their own thing too."

The letter that moved Mr Traill was one of many sent from Redlynch State College students.

"I think that Anzac Day is a great day because I can remember all of the people that have passed away and fought for our country and sacrificed their life," Jakob's neatly printed letter read.

"I want to tell you I appreciate you and all you have done."

Students from Redlynch State College have been writing letters to veterans for Anzac Day. Redlynch College year 6 student Jacob Cross, 11, with the letter he has written for local Navy veteran Ken Traill. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN
Students from Redlynch State College have been writing letters to veterans for Anzac Day. Redlynch College year 6 student Jacob Cross, 11, with the letter he has written for local Navy veteran Ken Traill. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN

Defence School Mentor for the college, Nadine Eddy, said the letters were part of a campaign to connect with veterans who may feel isolated on Saturday.

"We knew that Anzac Day would be difficult for everyone concerned," Ms Eddy said.

"It is more important than ever to connect with our veterans.

"This year they will be standing alone and feeling more isolated - but they are not alone and are still in our thoughts."

The Redlynch State College community has a large proportion of defence families.

"Anzac Day has never been lost on the students," Ms Eddy said.

Somalia veteran and clinical psychologist Dr Tim White said Anzac Day provided solace for those who had experienced service-related trauma.

"Typically people find when they are upset, in an effort to seek solace and support they can reach out to a colleague," Dr White said.

"One of the main intentions of Anzac Day is to provide support for each other.

"When isolated that level of coping is removed."

 

PAYING TRIBUTE

 

ANZAC Day 2020 will be like no other.

With public services, marches and other commemorative gatherings made impossible by coronavirus, Australians are being encouraged to mark the day from home.

A key part of that is the Light Up The Dawn initiative, backed by the RSL and News Corp, in which people will gather in their driveways, on their balconies or in their windows at 6am to listen to a streamed Dawn Service from the Australian War Memorial and hold up a candle or light. To make this easier, we have created a "virtual candle" for you to turn your phone into a shining illumination, along with other relevant Anzac Day content - the traditional Ode and the Last Post. You can use these to Light Up The Dawn or for moments of quiet personal reflection across the weekend.

It's free and really simple to get and use. Here's how: Go to the Cairns Post app, or our website at www.cairnspost.com.au (desktop or mobile) and click on the display banner or ad. Let's show our Diggers, they're not alone this Anzac Day.

Originally published as Navy veteran brought to tears by six-year-old's letter



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