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Thursday 12 November, 2015
This week, we have marked Remembrance Day: a time to remember those who served and their families and communities who also suffered greatly. We also reflect on our current members of the Australian Defence Force who continue to provide the same service to the community and the nation, in both war and peacekeeping operations.
I have had the privilege to be part of South Australia’s commemorations throughout this landmark, centenary year.
On the 20th October 2014, I presided over a church service at St Peter’s Cathedral to mark the centenary of the embarkation of soldiers who served with the 10th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force.
It was to be the first of a myriad of commemorative events marking the Centenary of Anzac this year. We marched on Anzac Day; we took part in historic Freedom of Entry Parades in the cities of Adelaide and Unley.
In addition to those ceremonies of commemoration and remembrance I have experienced the significance and legacy of the Battalion’s history service on a daily basis.
Today, like every other day for the past three years I will walk the corridors of the Battalion Headquarters. For more than thirty years I have been surrounded by our Colours, emblazoned with the battle honours of past conflicts; I have become closely acquainted with the historical displays, photos, maps and paintings depicting the Battalion at work.
It was thirty years ago that I joined the Battalion as a Private soldier. Today, I contemplate leaving the Battalion as its Commanding Officer. At the end of this year, I will be moving into a new role in the Army Reserve. In doing so, it is time to reflect on what I have learned.
Our Battalion is not alone in having stories to tell. There are so many memories, testimonies and histories. The men and women serving today represent those histories, as well as their own service as part of the modern, dynamic ADF.
The men and women of the Australian Army continue to both surprise and impress me. They surprise me with their ‘can do’ attitude and their resilience. They impress me with their ability to deal with whatever situations they face. I have learnt a great deal from them. They have made me a better person both within my family, civilian and military roles. I owe a great deal in that regard.
So, as we continue to commemorate the Anzac Centenary, let us not forget those who serve today. The men and women who you see before you at services of remembrance represent the histories of their Battalions. In serving their country they continue a legacy, building on those great foundations that we honour today.