Remember by JE Miller

Remember - A story to honour our soldiers

13 March 2020

Drawing on her family’s long military history for inspiration, Remember by JE Miller is a message of gratitude for the sacrifices, healing and hope of our servicemen and women.

By JE Miller

Remember was written for soldiers and veterans as much as it was for the children who look up to them. The story is told from the perspective of a child at an ANZAC Day March, who steps into the shoes of people they see to discover why they are there.

This publication was made possible thanks to the generous support of Goodna RSL Sub Branch, including the Navy and Women’s Auxiliaries, as well as Ipswich RSL Sub Branch and Moreton District RSL. They all donated funds to enable this beautiful, quality book to be produced, and it wouldn’t have happened without them.

The book was also made possible because of the 18 artists who won the illustration competition and donated their incredible artwork for the illustrations. Thanks to Ian Coate, Glen Gillard, Starr, Gemma Doherty and other members of the community, including veterans, teachers and school students.

 


Illustrators of Remember Monice Hurlbutt, Trelyse Allan and Danielle Carige with author JE Miller at Australia Zoo.

I was always raised to have a lot of respect and reverence for our service members. Many of the stories within the pages of Remember are taken from personal experiences. My mum was a nurse, and while she served the health profession rather than the Defence Force, she was an infinitely kind woman whose memory drives me every single day.

Both of my grandfathers served in WWII and my great great uncle was killed in action in WWI. I was a Navy Cadet in my teenage years, and I’ve worked with military personnel during flood and disaster relief efforts as a member of the State Emergency Service.

In 2009, I decided to write Remember for two reasons.

We were travelling around Australia and I was homeschooling my two young boys. It was approaching ANZAC Day and I couldn’t find any books to help them understand the meaning behind the ceremony. We crossed the Nullarbor earlier than expected and found ourselves in Perth in time for the ANZAC Day March.

 


A family photograph taken at the 2019 Goodna RSL ANZAC Day service.

My dad had served in Vietnam, but almost never talked about it. While he always went to the marches and ceremonies, he never marched and never wore his medals.

One of dad’s best mates lived in Perth and, as fate would have it, a few other guys from their unit were meeting there to march together. They put a spare set of medals on dad – the same ones he had been awarded – and convinced him to march with them.

I will never forget the look on my dad’s face that day. It was absolutely precious. He now marches every year and wears his medals with pride.

Over the years, I’ve known a lot of people who have served and many of them have inspired different parts of the book. When I first wrote the book, I wasn’t going to put my name to it.

Instead, I planned to pen, “No author is named as this story is for those whom we honour. Remember them.”


Showing their support at the Goodna book launch were, left to right, Moreton District Treasurer Bruce Milne, Moreton District Secretary Catherine Macmillan and Ipswich RSL Sub Branch Vice President Paul Rogers.

While my name did end up on the book, I was just the hands that typed the words. There really was no way I could make money from Remember. The proceeds always had to help those who stood – and still stand so bravely – to give us a life of freedom and security.

I’m looking forward to working with the RSL to see the money raised from Remember spent in ways that will make a meaningful difference, especially to help combat veteran suicide and homelessness.

They might be my words, but this is their story.

Lest we forget.

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