ANZAC Day Speech 2017

Acknowledgments: Traditional landowners Any VIPs present in audience RSL Pilbara Regiment and past and present service personnel

We stand here this morning as the sun begins its rise on the eastern horizon, to remember those thousands of men and women who have given their lives for our country. We have come here to remember the first ANZACs, those who fought so courageously at Gallipoli, in France, in Egypt and Palestine. And their sons and daughters and subsequent generations who fought in Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other countries around the world.  We remember them all.

War is a most desperate time and rarely leaves anyone untouched.  Soldiers leaving for far-away lands, leave mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, sons and daughters.  Somewhere there is always the last hug, the last smile, the last wave goodbye. Hoping against all hope their flower of youth would not be gone forever.

The men and women on the battle fields, coping at a tender age with horrors that no-one should ever have to face – the noise of mighty guns, of rockets and bombs and screaming aircraft – the total dissolution of normality into pure and absolute hell.  And the white steel noiselessness creeping through deserted villages, the snipers, land mines, IEDs, the suicide bombers, grenades and then the fire-fight.  Mates blown apart, bodies disfigured beyond imagining…..

As each war drags on, as days turn into worried years; hearts physically ache for loved ones far away in a place they can never reach, in a situation they can never help. The heaviness on the chests of those at home as they wait for news, wait for letters – and the pain when the letters stop coming….

Every year, on this morning we think about what these men and women have been through, what it must have felt like and how hard it must have been to face each day – not only those at war but also those at home. When normality is destroyed, it is destroyed forever.

This morning let us think about the men and women who are still out there today, peace keeping overseas, away from family and the comforts of home. The Australian troops and our own Pilbara Regiment who everyday look to serve their country and protect its people, who fight in wars not of their own making, to save countless innocent lives from circumstances beyond their control.

This is when we marvel at the incredible human capacity to carry on, to keep living and loving, and supporting one another, to eventually smile and laugh again and be the best we can be in any situation.

Today especially, let us think of our history, think of what so many men and woman have sacrificed for this country, what they have sacrificed for you and me and for all of us.

Lest we forget.