Acknowledgments: Traditional landowners Any VIPs present in audience RSL Pilbara Regiment and past and present service personnel
We meet here at this early, pre-dawn hour every year, to honour the more than 100,000 brave Australian and New Zealand heroes, who over the last century and more, have given their lives for their country and their people. In particular, we remember the heroism, tenacity and resilience of a group of young men from Australia and New Zealand who were sent to Gallipolli and landed on that ill-fated cove on this very day in 1915. In the 9 months by that Turkish beach we lost 8 and one half thousand of our young people out of a total 33 thousand allied casualties.
The way these ANZACs bore the brunt of the fight in the Dardanelles stirred in Australians everywhere a new feeling of camaraderie, a feeling that matched the way in which the rest of the world suddenly began to look at Australia – not just as an offshoot of Britain, but as an independent nation of a very independent character.
War is something few of us here have experienced, but it is a burden that those who survive, carry for a lifetime. The men and women we are here to remember have looked directly into the face of war and will never forget. But unfortunately, in Syria and elsewhere across the world, many women, children and ordinary civilians look war in the face on a daily basis. They witness their friends and families killed and disfigured, their homes and cities smashed to smithereens. This is a sad indictment of our race, the result of our fear, prejudice, hatred and greed, which continually leads us into still more conflicts.
But as the images on our media continue to shock, as the plight of the thousands of homeless and wounded seem forever beyond our capability to ease, let us appreciate how fortunate we are to live in this country of tolerance and wealth and safety – a safety earned in no small part by those who went before us and gave their all in theatres of war.
Today, we are a solemn nation, honouring those who fought for us, who were brave for us and who died for us. Let us remember the virtues of our ANZACs, from Gallipoli to the present day, and the sacrifice they laid down for us. Let us honour them today, and every day by appreciating the simple freedoms these men and women fought so courageously for. And, let us be proud of the legacy they have left our nations.
Thank you for coming this morning. For standing with your community and paying respect to so many men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and for us. May you continue to do so each year so that the memory, the bravery and the legacy of our soldiers is never forgotten.
Lest We Forget.