We are just two days away from ANZAC Day, arguably Australia’s most important day of the year when we commemorate the 105th anniversary of the landing by Australian and New Zealand troops at ANZAC Cove in Turkey during World War I. On that fateful day, sailors from the navy rowed their boats ashore full of troops with many South Australians. One battalion from South Australia on that day was the 10th Battalion, the Royal South Australia Regiment (RSAR). That Battalion, with its origins in volunteer army unit, the Adelaide Rifles, continues its traditions until today as the 10th/27th Battalion RSAR, an Army Reserve combat team unit. As a unit in the modern-day army it provides for readiness to serve our country as directed by our government with its most recent operational support to the bushfires on Kangaroo Island. Individual members from the unit are currently serving on overseas deployment. A most significant moment in my life was when I had the honour of leading this great battalion as its Commanding Officer just on 20 years ago. Yes, I have had a long tradition with the Army as a Reserve or Part-Time Army Officer.
This Saturday there is no ANZAC parade and services are only available to a few invited personnel due to COVID-19. However, every Australian is invited to go and line up at the end of their driveway at home at 0600 on Saturday 25 April 2020, with a candle and salute all those men and women who have fallen during war and those who survived defending our country, our freedom and our democratic way of life. We listen to the last post when we recite the ‘Ode’ which comes from the poem ‘For the Fallen’ written by Laurence Binyon and commonly known as ‘The Ode Of Remembrance’:
“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
During this very difficult time of this pandemic, I also want to salute the many members of the community who are doing their bit over and above to support our nation to get through this terrible time. Our health workers, our emergency workers, our police, our teachers and school staff, those who work in supermarkets and many others who are doing their bit to make life for Australians safe, manageable and supportive. With millions of people out of work, we are all stepping up and supporting others including those most marginalised and homeless. LET US NOT FORGET THEM!