Emotional event to honour 'wonderful, brave acts'
THE Light Horse travelled through Ballina on Saturday to honour acts of bravery by Australian war veterans, emergency and rescue services personal, everyday civilians and animals.
Peter Kerkenezov, an honorary veterinary surgeon for the Light Horse Association and the Australian Bravery Association, organised the event to acknowledge all Australians, including animals who suffered the consequences of brave acts.
"I thought we should have a parade for those who have paid the high cost of bravery, I call it the honour parade," Capt Kerkenezov said.
He said courageous acts, whether overseas on the battlefield, saving a friend from a shark attack or rescuing someone from a house fire, left many with emotional and physical trauma.
The parade of 11 ceremonial horses and 12 veterans started at Maritime Museum and passed along River St to the Ballina RSL cenotaph where a remembrance service was held.
"It's amazing how it all stitched together," Capt Kerkenezov said.
"We picked Ballina rather than a major city because there are a lot of recipients in this area."
Cap Kerkenezov said there were many people who had done "wonderful, brave acts" and not been recognised, including horses lost during war.
"Animals all help human beings in a lot of ways," he said.
Cap Kerkenezov rode on his horse Gorgie, "a gentle giant".
Lawrence Watts, national vice-president of the Australian Light Horse Association, said the relationship between a rider and their horse was profound.
"A relationship a guy has with his horse, particularly in battle, well, he becomes your best friend. There is a huge trust developed between the two of you," Mr Watts said.
"Horses are extremely sensitive, they love people. I learnt a lot more about dealing with people when dealing with horses."
After the service, poet Ms Kay Gorring left the crowd in tears when she recited her poem The Pact reflecting on her experience as a nurse assigned to a pavilion ward.