Sunday, May 3, 2015

Address to dawn service parade

Dale Britten reflects on the Cenotaph on Anzac Day.
THE 120 people who took part in the 5.45am march to the New Norfolk Cenotaph on Anzac Day were addressed by parade marshal Dale Britten prior to setting off.

A veteran of the Vietnam War, Mr Britten spoke about the significance of Anzac Day 2015 as the centenary of the landing of the original Anzacs - the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps - so far from home on the beaches at Gallipoli in Turkey.

"These brave souls were attempting to break a corridor through the hills of Gallipoli. Thousands of other service personnel from other Commonwealth countries were active in and around the Dardanelles trying to achieve a breakthrough as well. Sadly it was not to be. Of the events that took place on the first day and the following months it can only be said that these fellows were the bravest of the brave. Valour was commonplace at Gallipoli - they gave no quarter and expected none.

"It is well recorded how they cared for each other as true mates do. The comradeship they shared and the support for each other truly earned the respect of their foe [and] earned more awards and decorations in a short period of time than at any other period of the First World War. Our Gallipoli fatalities were 8709, wounded 18,000. Some eight months later all forces were evacuated to Egypt for other campaigns and I am sure we all know the recorded history of these campaigns. Sadly the war was to last until the Armistice in November 1918. With 61,522 Australian fatalities, the face of Australia was never the same.

"One hundred years on and we gather here to march to the Cenotaph to pay our respect to those that gave their all. Our Diggers, the nurses, the sailors and the war reporters. Charles Bean, the official war historian, worked tirelessly to record and report about Gallipoli and the history of the First World War. He stated: 'we owe these Diggers a debt of gratitude and I will work tirelessly so our nation will remember them.' He worked for 22 years - 1920 to 1942 - and to him we owe a debt of gratitude as he was a prime mover for the Australian War Memorial, a truly remarkable place of remembrance for all who served and in particular those that have paid the supreme sacrifice for their service. In excess of 102,000 names are on these hallowed  walls - a sacred place indeed.

"Today we are  paying a tribute to current and past personnel that served our nation, including military (Army, Navy and Air Force), police and emergency response teams and boarder protection units, civilians and volunteers. This morning as we approach the Cenotaph we need to be proud Australians and remember all those that have served our nation. To remember we need to be eternally vigilant and give thanks to those who paid the supreme sacrifice so we continue to have the freedom we enjoy today. They believed our nation and freedom was worth fighting for.

"As time goes by we will hold in our hearts the Anzacs. Poet Rudyard Kipling said: 'Their bodies are buried in peace but their names will liveth for evermore.' And in the Ode we say 'They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning,  we will remember them. Lest we forget."

No comments:

Post a Comment