The ANZACS showed to the world, what it means, to be Australian.
The world had not seen the ‘just get the job done’ attitude, the mateship, the resourcefulness, and the courage from this young nation, our forefathers did us proud.
One hundred years ago as they waited in the boats, I wonder, what were those soldiers thinking? Many would not see the sun set that day, for them the lights would draw dim much earlier. What had made them sign up? Why were they there?
This quote from Ashmead Bartlett written in the first correspondence piece back to Australia demonstrates the ANZACS courage and resolve.
“The Australians rose to the occasion. They did not wait for orders, or for the boats to reach the beach, but sprang into the sea, formed a sort of rough line, and rushed at the enemy’s trenches. Their magazines were not charged, so they just went in with the cold steel, and it was over in a minute for the Turks in the first trench had been either bayoneted or had run away, and the Maxim guns were captured.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, it was revealed that day and in the days that followed, what would become known as the spirit of the ANZACS. As the soldiers rested in the hard fought for trenches and on the beaches just metres from where their mates had fallen, were they thinking of home? Were they thinking of love ones they had left behind? Were they questioning what the future would hold for those generations yet to be born, back home in Australia.
Many Australian Men and Women have since fought in wars and conflicts. There is a cost of war, not in terms of money but in terms of people. There are those that perish, those that are injured, and those that will never forget what they went through. There is nothing that can recompense these brave souls but all we can do is say “thank you”.
The spirit of the ANZACS is as strong today as it ever was, as millions of people around this nation proudly show their respects to say thank you.
To those that have served or are serving in our armed forces, I stand here today and humbly say
Thank you for your sacrifices to give me the freedoms I enjoy today… The freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, the political freedom we have and thank you, for showing the world, how GREAT this nation is.
I leave you with these words written in the Town and Country Journal in an article titled “Australia’s Splendid Beginning” on the 12th May 1915… It’s words, one hundred years on have proven to be true.
“Though the list of casualties has brought grief to many homes, there is consolation in the thought that all our men at the front are fighting gloriously for the defence of the Empire. Many more thousands of young men are giving their services, and in course of time will join their comrades in the battle line. And in the coming years the memory of all those who fought in the greatest war the world has ever seen, and in the severest crisis through which the Empire has ever passed, will be handed down from generation to generation with pardonable pride.”
Lest we forget.