Lest we forget

A guard of honor at Hahndorf during the town's service on Anzac Day.

We live in a lucky country. And never is that truth driven home so strongly than on Anzac Day.

It’s the sacrifices of the men and women of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs) who fought in conflicts in the 20th and 21st centuries – some never returning – which shaped our nation and secured the freedoms we so often take for granted today.

This past Monday, thousands of Australians gathered at war memorials across the country to honor the brave veterans of conflicts in Europe, the Pacific, Vietnam, Timor Leste and the Middle East as well as those still serving in our military today.

We remember those who braved the unique horrors of the Vietnam War with as much thankfulness as the men who defeated the Japanese in the Pacific and the Nazis in Europe during WW2.

Throughout multiple conflicts over more than a century, 100,000 Australians have died through war.

Mothers have lost sons and daughters, sisters have lost brothers and wives and husbands have lost their significant others.

Even today, members of our defence forces continue to give of themselves, risking their lives, driven by a love of country and a desire to serve their fellow man.

On Monday we paid respect to our Anzacs because, no matter how necessary or righteous the conflict, the men and women of Australia and NZ who fought did so because they believed their sacrifice would make their country – or in some cases another country – a better place.

After a difficult two years during which Covid-19 hampered attempts to honor our soldiers on Anzac Day, it has been heartening to see the Hills community turn out by the hundreds to fill parks and streets, out of respect for the fallen and for those still serving.

War is a tragic, but sadly common part of life in a world where ideologies and beliefs are so often opposed and hunger for power often reigns.

But while the devastation of war undeniably tears apart and destroys lives, we often find in the midst of that devastation what is perhaps one of the greatest displays of love and selflessness known to humankind – that someone would lay down their life for their friend. And so, once again, those who have served or continue to serve – we thank you.