On the morning of April 25th 1915, Australian and New Zealand troops landed under fire at Gallipoli, and it was then and in the violent campaign that followed, that the ANZAC tradition was forged.
On this day above all days we recall those who served in war and who did not return to receive the grateful thanks of the nation.
We remember those who still sleep where they were left – amid the holly scrub in the valleys and on the ridges of Gallipoli – on the rocky and terraced hills of Palestine – and in the lovely cemeteries of France. We remember those who lie asleep beneath the shimmering haze of the Libyan desert – at Bardia, Derna, Tobruk – and amid the mountain passes and olive groves of Greece both on the mainland and on the island of Crete, and the rugged, snow-capped hills of Lebanon and Syria.
We remember those who lie buried in the rank jungle of Malaya and Burma – in New Guinea – and in the distant isles of the Pacific. We remember those who lie buried amid loving friends in our Motherland and in our own far North.
We remember those who lie in unknown resting places – in almost every land, and those gallant men whose grave is the unending sea. Especially, do we remember those who died as prisoners of war remote from their homeland, and from the comforting presence of their kith and kin.
We think of those of our women’s services who gave their lives in our own and foreign lands and at sea, and of those who proved to be, in much more than name, the sisters of our fighting men. We recall, too, the staunch friends who fought beside our men on their first ANZAC Day – men of New Zealand who helped create the name of ANZAC.
We recall all those who gave their lives in the Royal Navy, the British Army, the Royal Air Force, the Merchant Service and in other British and Dominion Forces, and we think of those British men and women who fell, when, for the second time in history, their nation and it’s kindred stood alone against the overwhelming might of an oppressor. We think of every man and woman who in those crucial years died so that the lights of freedom and humanity might continue to shine.
We shall be ever mindful, too, of those brave men who left our shores and died in Korea, in Malaya, and in Vietnam, helping to safeguard the Commonwealth and other free countries, against the on-march of enemies thrusting to obtain new bases from which they may attack and destroy the freedom that in two world wars cost the lives of a hundred thousand Australians to achieve and preserve.
And to the Peacemakers and Peacekeepers who have served and who are serving in many places across the globe, may their efforts be not in vain.
May all of them rest proudly in the knowledge of their achievements, and may we and our successors in that heritage left to us, prove worthy of their sacrifices.