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Burnie honours hometown hero

By April 2, 2015News

THE essence of Cameron Baird VC MG was captured at the unveiling of the memorial plinth yesterday, according to his mother Kaye Baird.

From football references to a focus on the importance of education, yesterday’s memorial was heartfelt and emotional, but most of all spoke to who Corporal Baird was.

“Cameron was really humble about everything, he didn’t like attention,” Mrs Baird said.

“But deep down he would be honoured.

“He was a genuinely good person, he never had a bad word to say about anyone and never held a grudge.”

Corporal Baird’s achievements were recounted at the memorial, reminding everyone of his bravery leading a special forces team into a precarious situation that could have led to the destruction of the entire team had it not being for Corporal Baird’s bravery.

His final actions were not the only ones to note, while Corporal Baird was alive, he was passionate about education, with Burnie RSL Sub-branch president Michael Davis telling the crowd Corporal Baird was “very much for the future of education”.

Mr Davis said Corporal Baird furthered this idea by being an ambassador for the Army and going into schools to speak about the defence force.

The event was described as magnificent by Mrs Baird and Corporal Baird’s father, Doug Baird, was overwhelmed by the response.

“We feel very privileged and honoured this happened and the memorial stone is gorgeous,” Mrs Baird said.

The entire experience was both humbling and filled Mr Baird with pride, he said.

Having lived in Burnie for 10 years, he felt he returned home, Mr Baird said.

“I have the feeling I have never left,” Mr Baird said.

“Burnie has changed, but there is that feeling of warmth and friendliness.”

Mrs Baird said she was fighting the overwhelming emotions when she and her husband first arrived, but was pleased to see many friendly faces in the crowd yesterday.

“We do feel extremely grateful we have had this privilege bestowed upon us,” Mrs Baird said.

“When we come back to Burnie, we will come here and reflect,” she said of the Burnie Park, where the plinth was unveiled.

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