ANZAC DAY MESSAGE
As we pause today on the 25th of April to remember the fallen, I encourage everyone to reflect on the sacrifices made by our first Anzacs, and the courage of Australia’s service personnel who have served in the defence of our nation, and in wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping missions around the globe.
On Anzac Day, we commemorate all those who have worn the uniform and served our country to secure the safety and freedoms that we value today, and we recognise the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces, known worldwide for their courage, commitment, bravery, endurance, and mateship.
In the early hours of 25th of April 1915, troops from both Australia and New Zealand landed on a beach in Turkey that we now call ANZAC Cove. Major Duncan Chapman, from Maryborough, was the first ashore and was joined by many men from towns and farming communities in Wide Bay.
It was a proud moment for these men, but a momentous undertaking for our country. It was the first time soldiers from the independent Commonwealth of Australia, barely a decade old, had come to fight for our nation’s sovereign King, assisting our former mother-country, Great Britain.
The ANZAC troops clung to this small beachhead valiantly for almost eight months and suffered enormously through devastating losses, battle casualties, disease, and they were severely lacking in supplies to sustain their effort. But they endured.
When the time came to withdraw to the boats and sail away, it was successfully conducted through detailed planning, good communication and disciplined military skills and tactics. Their last walk from the trenches to the boats, past the graves of their fallen mates, must have been distressing for these men. As they moved to the beach, they knew it represented the defeat of the mission.
As the ANZAC Diggers departed, they vowed that the many feats of valour witnessed and the sacrifice of the fallen – the 8709 Australians and 2779 New Zealanders who lost their lives – would be forever remembered.
And they have been remembered ever since. The first ANZAC Day service occurred 12 months later in 1916, with marches and gatherings in London, Australia, and New Zealand.
Today, we recognise the more than 1.5 million service men and women who have served our country in all conflicts, wars, and peacekeeping operations, and in particular, we remember the more than 103,000 Australians who sacrificed their lives in our country’s name.
This Anzac Day marks the 108th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, the 50th anniversary of the end of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and the 30th anniversary of Australian operations in Somalia.
The current conflicts in the Ukraine and many other parts of the world remind us that the safety of our shores is something we must not take for granted, and we offer gratitude to our current defence personnel who continue to serve our nation.
I encourage everyone in Wide Bay to attend a service on Anzac Day, or take the time to pause, reflect, and remember those who have served, and have given their lives for our country.
Like those who came before them, and those who continue to serve in defence of our country today, we must ensure their stories are told; their legacy is remembered; and that their courage and sacrifice are never forgotten.
Lest We Forget.
Mr O’Brien will commemorate Anzac Day at Tin Can Bay and Woolooga this year.