Posted: 28 April, 2016
“Just as we stood together then, we stand together today”
Source: Getty Images. Family and friends of those who were killed at the Port Arthur massacre, lay floating candles in the reflection pool at the memorial site during a memorial service to mark the 10th aniversary.
For some survivors, it will be their first visit to Port Arthur since the horrific incident
A commemorative service to be held today will mark the 20th anniversary since lone gunman Martin Bryant went on a rampage, killing 35 people and wounding 23 others.
An open-invitation service is due to start at 12:30pm (AEST) and will include a keynote address, poetry, choral singing and wreath laying.
While some people linked to the massacre want to forget what happened and will stay away, the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority said there has been strong community interest in holding a dignified commemoration.
Source: Getty Images. The reflection pool in the Memorial Garden of the Port Arthur Historical Site on April 18, 2016 in Port Arthur, Australia.
Tasmanian premier Will Hodgman will be attending the open-invitation service and has recalled with sorrow the events of April 28, 1996, which changed Australia forever.
“While many wounds have healed with time, there are others that will never,” he told AAP.
“What happened that day will never define us, but the way we responded does. Just as we stood together then, we stand together today.”
Survivor Peter Croswell told us on such an emotional day, he chooses to reflect on the positives that have come out of the horror.
“The massacre has become part of my life, it’s changed me as a person. I think you’ve got to realise that after any trauma it’s going to change you.”
Source: Getty Images. Floating candles for each of those killed in the Port Arthur massacre lie in the reflection pool at the memorial site during a commemoration service to mark the 10th aniversary.
“I reflect on the positives that have come out of it. To deal with it all I was taught to say well ok I’m a different person now,.. but I hope I’m a better person and a more understanding and patient person.”
Former Prime Minister John Howard will attend, along with current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
In response to the massacre Mr Howard acted swiftly to tighten Australia’s gun laws in a move still widely applauded by sections of Australia.
“The Port Arthur massacre affected each of us in a different way, but it changed something in all of us,” Mr Hodgman said.
Mr Croswell agreed, saying, “you don’t actually move on from such events… it becomes part of you.”
Source: Getty Images. The cross bearing the names of those who lost their lives is seen in the Memorial Garden in the Port Arthur Historical Site on April 18, 2016 in Port Arthur, Australia.