Commemorate Anzac Day at home – Anzac Day message from Llew O’Brien

Like most Australians, I have attended many Anzac Day services throughout my life, and this Anzac Day is so different to any other that has been before.

While this year we will not be gathering to bow our heads at the local cenotaph, or attending gunfire breakfasts at the RSL, this does not diminish the solemnity of Anzac Day and our respect for all who have served and continue to serve.

We will still remember the sacrifice of those who gave so much for us at Gallipoli and on many fronts – just as we ourselves make our own smaller sacrifices to protect Australian lives while we face this terrible virus.

This year, a Dawn Service will be broadcast across Australia from the Australian War Memorial.

The coverage of the commemorative service will take place at the Australian War Memorial on Anzac Day, 25 April 2020, with the ABC starting pre-service coverage from 5am AEST, with the service broadcast live from the Commemorative Area and Hall of Memory from 5.30am AEST.

While we need to physically stay apart, I commend the Australian War Memorial staff for connecting us this way so we can commemorate and reflect on the courage, and bravery, honour, valour and sacrifice of the Anzacs who helped to secure our freedom – and shape the course of our nation.

We stand in awe of the dedication and service of our Anzac heroes.  And it is their spirit, who the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, acknowledged that we are summoning now, to get us through this very difficult and troubling time.

Their service gives us cause to deeply reflect on the meaning of Anzac Day.  We all remember with gratitude the sacrifices made by our first Anzacs, as well as the efforts of servicemen and women in the time since then, who continue to serve our country, risking their lives to keep Australia safe, and securing peace and freedom around the world.

More than 50,000 Australians are estimated to have fought at Gallipoli, where some 8,700 lost their lives and almost 18,000 were wounded. Our nation owes an enormous debt to these Australians, whose courage, determination and bravery have become part of the Australian way.

Anzac Day commemorations help younger Australians to gain a deeper appreciation of our wartime history, and the role that war has played in shaping our nation. I hope that all young Australians learn the Anzac story and pass it onto to future generations.

This year, 2020, Australia marks 75 years since victory in the Pacific and the end of World War II.

75 years ago, across Australia, crowds gathered in the thousands – in cities and towns – to celebrate the end of the conflict and to commemorate the men and women who served so bravely.

For many in Australia the end of the war in the Pacific was marked by celebration. For others it was a day of sombre commemoration and relief. For those who had lost loved ones, the cost was high – almost 40,000 Australians had been killed out of around one million who had served.

This year we also mark the 105th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign. In the fire of battle they forged the Anzac spirit which endures in the bravery of the Australian Defence Force to this day.

Fifty years ago, Australia began to wind down its military effort in Vietnam with the departure of the 8th Battalion.

For those who served in the Second World War, I thank you for your service and all you did to protect our shores.  And I pay tribute to the contributions of all defence personnel, in the Army, Navy and Air Force, who have served in war, conflicts and peace keeping operations, who for more than a century have done our nation proud.

As we pause, reflect and remember those who have served and those who have given their lives for our country, we recall the three words which mean so much and we will forever remember. 

Lest We Forget.