Sunshine Coast veteran Faye Clarke, 104, will lead the march as part of the events hosted by Caloundra RSL Sub-Branch to commemorate the Victory in the Pacific at Kings Beach on Saturday.
The local Caloundra resident, who served as a nurse in Australia, Borneo, and Papua New Guinea during WWII, will join Caloundra RSL members, special guests, and the community to view two bronze statues unveiled at Kings Beach Amphitheatre car park at 1pm.
The statues depict a nurse tending a wounded soldier and a soldier standing guard over a parade ground.
Victory in the Pacific Day on 15 August commemorates Japan’s acceptance of the Allied demand for unconditional surrender made on 14 August 1945.
Caloundra RSL Sub-Branch President Heather Christie has invited the Sunshine Coast community to attend the event in honour of a significant moment in Australian history.
“This is truly a special event for Caloundra and the entire Sunshine Coast,” Ms Christie said. “The statues will help tell our story and will honour the veterans and their loved ones from this region.”
Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace MP, who will be among the special guests and dignitaries for the commemorative events, encouraged the community to come along to pay their respects, learn a little local history, and reflect on the sacrifices our service men and women made during World War II.
“I have been looking forward to this special event for some time as it pays tribute to our servicemen and women from the Second World War,” Mr Wallace said.
“My thoughts will no doubt go back to my grandfather Gerry, who served on HMAS Kanimbla – a passenger ship converted to an armed merchant cruiser during World War II. He, like almost a million Australians, served this nation gallantly and protected the freedoms we all enjoy today.”
An estimated 25,000 soldiers stood on the golden sands of Kings Beach, used as a military parade ground between 1939 and 1945, as they farewelled Australia and headed for war.
Vietnam veteran Gary Phillips said the statues represent all soldiers that paraded at Kings Beach, which is considered hallowed ground.
“The military tradition is that those who paraded on the hallowed ground, who die in combat, their spirit returns to that parade ground to wait for their mates,” Mr Phillips said.
Events will include a catafalque party, helicopter flypast, military band, and march past.
In the evening, Caloundra RSL Sub-Branch will host a sold-out Victory in the Pacific Ball at the Caloundra Events Centre.
“It will be a re-enactment of the Victory in the Pacific Ball that took place in Caloundra about 1945/46,” Ms Christie said.
“Guests will be taken back to the 1940’s with performances by the 1st Regiment Military Band, Southern Bells, The Andrews Sisters, and Kawana State College drama group.