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To distinguished guest, ladies and gentlemen,
Today is a date etched in the national psyche.
It is a date we share with other countries, the tradition of observing in silence the anniversary of the Great War’s armistice and to remember and commemorate the fallen and those who served during all theatres of conflict.
At 5:10am on 11 November 1918, an armistice was signed by the Allies and Germany ordering that all hostilities to cease at 11am - ending 52 months of slaughter and loss.
The 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month is a moment chosen by the Allies as the time for the official commemoration and remembrance of those who had died in the war.
After World War II, the Australian and British Governments deemed it more appropriate to commemorate the sacrifices made in all conflicts – hence Remembrance Day.
1.5 million Australian’s have served our country in wartime and more than 100,000 have lost their lives.
There is no ranking of sacrifice amongst Australia’s war dead. You cannot say that one battle or loss of life was more important than another. All sacrifices of war equally represent the selfless commitment to our great nation and its freedom we are privileged to have.
Before going off to war, our soldiers lived a life similar to the rest of us. They worked hard or studied, read books, played sports, attended functions and shared stories, laughter and tears.
They had a home and a family and valued mateship and life.
What makes these ordinary people special is that they were prepared to lay down their lives.
It matters not whether their reasoning was for our nation, democracy or liberty.
It does not matter if they were born here or overseas – as many were.
In donning a uniform, they represented us.
We carry forth their pride at what has been achieved and sadness at what has been lost. We will never forget their sacrifice. We are honour-bound to remember them.
We will remember them.