Flower power overcomes the din of demonstrators

time for rememberingRival protests proved only a minor distraction for those attending this year’s Time for Remembering ceremony at Parliament House on Sunday.

Synod disability and inclusion office Rev Andy Calder, who was ceremony convenor, said the annual event had once again been “a great comfort and support” for those affected by road trauma.

Mr Calder said that initially it was “confronting” to see the security fences and riot squad police stationed outside Parliament before the ceremony.

The measures were set up to keep a demonstration by anti-immigration nationalist groups in support of Donald Trump away from a counter protest.

However, those arriving for the Time for Remembering ceremony were escorted though a corralled section into Parliament without incident.

At the end of the ceremony they were escorted out a back entrance.

Mr Calder said that the Queens Hall ceremony venue was insulated from the noise and as it turned out the pro-Trump protest was relatively small and short-lived.

The ceremony largely took its theme from a felted mural of a flowery meadow landscape entitled The heart-felt flower garden where love and loss abide.

The approximately 150 people who attended were each given a felt flower that, like the mural, was hand-made by participants in the Art Therapy Group of Road Trauma Support Services Victoria.

Amid readings and reflections, Elva and Vern Broad told their story of a devastating car crash that left Elva severely injured.

Labor MP Harriet Shing attended on behalf of the Victorian Premier and there were also representatives of the emergency, care and support services as well as the legal community.

The Brunswick Women’s Choir, who have become something of a fixture at this event, sung at intervals.

“They were wonderful as normal,” Mr Calder said and he also praised the harp solo by Michael Johnson.

Mr Calder said that there were old faces and new at the ceremony, which is organised by the Uniting Church and Road Trauma Support Services Victoria.

“After 16 years it’s become part of the landscape and people keep coming because it’s such a source of community support,” Mr Calder said.

Photo from Harriet Shing via Twitter

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