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Anzac Day Dawn Service - Gallipoli Speech


Anzac Day Dawn Service - Gallipoli Speech

25 April 2004

We stand here this morning to remember all those who suffered and died at this place 89 years ago.

We pay homage not only to the Australians and New Zealanders, but also men from Britain, France, Canada, India and Newfoundland. We remember the brave Turks who defended this ground.

In time, we have ceased to distinguish between the loss of friend or foe - all who fought here shared a common sacrifice, and those who remember them share their legacy of courage.

As dawn breaks, we cannot help but think of how those first ANZACs would have felt. With thoughts of family and home, they willingly took their places in the boats. With excitement and fear as never before, they steeled themselves for the unknown that lay beyond.

For many, this would be a final act of sacrifice and service. Some 8700 Australians and 2700 New Zealanders would lose their lives. Many more would suffer cruelly and be nursed in the most difficult of circumstances.

Others would fight on in the horrors of the trenches of France and Belgium.

All would be part of a special legacy - their example is as relevant today as it was when news of their sacrifice first broke the hearts of two young nations, Australia and New Zealand.

The actions of those first ANZACs have since stirred us to aim higher and encouraged the finest qualities - service, courage, sacrifice, shared responsibility and overcoming adversity no matter what the odds. Since the campaign in Gallipoli, generations of young soldiers, sailors and airmen and women have stood ready to serve and pay the price even by giving their lives.

This morning we also commemorate their sacrifice. And we think of the men and women on active duty today, with a new generation of friends and family anxiously waiting behind. We particularly think of those in Iraq and Afghanistan - serving at significant risk. We pray for their safe return.

Those of us from Australia and New Zealand claim the heritage of ANZAC as part of our identity. If so, we must show it in our own lives. To wear a uniform is not a prerequisite for service. We will all have the chance to demonstrate some of the qualities of the ANZAC. If we do so, we will be contributing to a better society. And we will be demonstrating that the sacrifice of those who died at Gallipoli was not in vain.

We must also remember the lesson that war is terrible and the costs incalculable. Sometimes war will be necessary but it will always come at great cost. This cost demands that we do our utmost to settle differences peacefully and provide the necessary security for our people and interests without the resort to arms.

At the same time, we must not be cowed by extremists who use terror to undermine our way of life and break our spirit. Those who have made this pilgrimage here today and those across the world who stand together in these ceremonies are sending a powerful message that the spirit of ANZAC is alive and well and will not be defeated.

Let us remember that we are here to commemorate those who out of a sense of service and duty have staked their own frail mortality for the benefit of others. We recognise the nobility of their sacrifice and commit ourselves to preserve their legacy.

As the light here grows and another ANZAC Day comes upon us, we turn to those in the shadows. We thank you. We will never forget you.

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