Editorial: Senseless attacks on our war heroes must stop

There are few sites in our city as sacred as our RSL and its military museum as well as our war memorials, yet how is it these locations honouring our heroes can often be the target of thieves and vandals?

These are sites which evoke a feeling of national pride, as we remember and honour those who fight bravely for our country. They are also locations which draw out emotions as we pay tribute to the countless sacrifices – the deaths and injuries – of the men and women who served in conflicts across the world. 

A soldier’s slouch hat and a Japanese World War II air raid siren were both taken. 

While the RSL has now introduced a ban on taking backpacks into the museum, located at The Terrace, it is an action the group should not need to make. 

RSL museum curator Jeff Kenyon put the disgusting act into words perfectly when he said the theft is disrespectful to the men and women who served past and present and to the display recognising their efforts.

“It is a terrible thing to show disrespect to the Australian defence forces. They put their lives on the line for their country,” Jeff told The Recorder.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time criminals have targeted our city's beloved RSL and our war memorials.

The emblems stolen included a brass Navy emblem, a brass Air Force emblem and a brass number.

Almost two years ago, and a little more than a week after Remembrance Day commemorations, the RSL was targeted yet again. 

This time thieves had the nerve to cut down the Australian flag which was flying at half-mast in honour of Phillip Bannister, a World War II veteran who had died. It was a fitting tribute by the RSL to a man who had served his nation with pride.

Somehow that tribute meant very little to the people, or person, who decided to take the flag.

Tugging at the heartstrings of criminals is about as useful as slopping on sunscreen on a rainy winter’s day – it serves little purpose.  

When will these disgusting attacks on our nation’s war heroes cease?

Dylan Smith is editor of Port Pirie’s The Recorder newspaper