ANZAC DAY SPEECH by goodbaby

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									Brigette Garbin

ANZAC Day is a very special and important one to Australians. It is a day where all Australians can come together to honour and remember the ANZACs who fought and died for our country. Most importantly, it is a chance for all Australians to reflect on the spirit of the ANZAC. But, what is this spirit? How did it come about? And why, more than 90 years after Gallipoli, do Australians continue to remember and embrace this ANZAC spirit with such pride and honour? For the young nation of Australia, World War I was the first important test on the world stage. It was Australia’s chance to prove themselves worthy and equal of all the other nations in the world. The task of going and fighting at Gallipoli was one that was met with great enthusiasm by young Australian men, and thousands enlisted. All had an immense desire to fight under the Empire, and become a part of Britain’s glorious military history. Western Australia felt a special association with the war because the convoy of vessels carrying the first Australian and New Zealand troops to go overseas assembled and left Australia from King George Sound. For many of the men on board these ships, Albany was their last sight of Australia. West Australian soldiers also played a special and important role at Gallipoli. West Australian bushmen who were chosen for the 10th Light Horse Regiment were placed, along with other Australian soldiers, at an open area of ground known as the Nek. They were ordered to attack. This was to distract the Turks away from the British, who were planning a landing several kilometers to the north. As they leapt from the trenches, the men knew their fate; they were heading for an almost certain death. But none were willing to let down their mates or their country. The Australian soldiers had an incredible determination and zest for life. These ANZACs fought as they lived – bravely, openly and independently. They continuously displayed an immense amount of courage and compassion. But above all, the ANZACs valued mateship. This quality was so important to the ANZACs that a man would die for his mates. These qualities of bravery, compassion, loyalty, mateship, endurance and self-sacrifice were never more evident than in the legend of Simpson and his donkey. Simpson tirelessly rescued dozens of men on his donkey, bravely walking through shellfire, to rescue his fellow ANZACs. In total, he rescued about 300 men, calmly taking them to safety, until he was shot by Turkish gunfire on 19 May 1915. Simpson is a man who Australians remember for his courage and compassion, rather than his skills with a weapon. He is the epitome of the ANZAC spirit that we remember today. It is this courage and compassion which we remember each ANZAC Day. The qualities that the ANZACs showed at Gallipoli have become known as the ANZAC spirit, and this spirit is etched forever in the nation of Australia, and the hearts of Australians. We all like to believe their qualities are instilled in us, as Australians. ANZAC Day is a time for us to pay tribute to these brave men, who fought and died for our country, so that future generations like mine could live in freedom. This extraordinary act of self-sacrifice is remembered every year, when we take the time to pay our respect and say thank you for the freedom that we have today. ANZAC Day, with the trumpet playing the “Last Post”, the reading of the Ode, and the one minute’s silence, gives me the chance to reflect on the Spirit of the ANZAC, and what it means for Australia. Many people argue that it was Gallipoli, rather than Federation, that really unified Australia as a nation. When soldiers from all over the country went to fight together at Gallipoli, a common bond was formed. Every Australian back home felt immense pride in the young soldiers who showed such amazing courage in battle. 1

This is what the ANZAC spirit is about. It is the heart, the very essence of our nation. But it is about sadness, and grief for young lives cut short and dreams left unfulfilled. It is about the horror and carnage of war. Ceremonies held all over the country send out a very clear and strong message to me, and that is to try by all means possible, to avoid war and conflict in the future. At a local level, for myself and other people in the small rural town of Bruce Rock, the annual reunion of Vietnam veterans from all over Australia in November each year is another reflection of the lasting consequences of war, whilst illustrating the immense loyalty and mateship that exists because of the common bond and experience of war. This prominent display of mateship and loyalty is evidence that the ANZAC spirit is still very much alive today. Australia has been involved in several armed conflicts since their role in World War I at Gallipoli. In 1939, almost a million men and women volunteered to participate in World War II, and over 40,000 did not return. A few years later, Australia sent 17,000 to Korea, and in the 1960s sent 50,000 to Vietnam to fight. Having said this, Australia has also been involved in many international peacekeeping operations as part of the United Nations forces since WWII. Over the years, Australia soldiers have been active in peacekeeping operations in East Timor, the Solomon Islands, Afghanistan and Iraq, helping the people of these countries to get their lives back on track. These soldiers risk their lives in these wartorn countries, demonstrating the same self-sacrifice, integrity and compassion that the ANZACs showed at Gallipoli. It is a mistake to think that the ANZAC spirit applies only to the men who fought for our country at Gallipoli. The ANZAC spirit is truly reflective of the ordinary person who does extraordinary things. By volunteering for causes and charities such as the Red Cross, the SES, St John’s Ambulance and Telethon, we as West Australians are ensuring that the ANZAC spirit lives on. During the 2002 Bali bombings, many West Australians, among others, performed incredible acts of heroism. They ran into burning buildings, risking their own lives, to rescue people who were often complete strangers. After the initial bombings, many Australians stayed behind to offer support and their services to the hospitals and the survivors. Dr Fiona Wood, a West Australian, developed the groundbreaking new technology of “spray-on-skin” to help the Bali victims, and for her efforts won Australian of the Year in 2004. The personal risk, persistence, courage and compassion for others underlining these deeds illustrate that the ANZAC spirit, so strongly demonstrated over 90 years ago, continues to thrive in Australia today. In December 1915, Gallipoli was evacuated, and this is often said to be the most successful mission of the whole Gallipoli campaign. It seemed that all the pain and sacrifice had been in vain. However, although these men did not succeed in their military task, they lived and died courageously for their countries, and they set the standard for future generations of Australians to follow. We should never forget what these men have done for our country, for our people. These men are gone, but their legend, their spirit – the spirit of ANZACs- lives on.

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