THOUGH the ranks of military personnel who have served our country in battles mostly past, but sometimes present, have continued to dwindle, the significance of days such as Anzac Day will never be lost on our community.
April 25 has never been a day to celebrate our nation’s participation in conflicts around the globe, but it remains an opportunity to commemorate and reflect on Australia’s involvement in military action and the sacrifices made by our service men and women throughout the ages.
As the number of brave survivors from the Second World War that ended in 1945 are diluted, service personnel from subsequent campaigns fall into line for the annual Anzac Day march, joined by the proud next of kin of those who are no longer with us.
Later this year, the centenary of the conclusion to the Great War, supposedly the war to end all wars, will be acknowledged, especially across Europe and by nations such as Australia and New Zealand, where the loss of life was as horrendous as the fierce battles and harsh conditions our forces endured throughout the bloody conflict.
There are no winners from the theatre of war, and the horrific impact and turmoil that eventuates when our world breaks down into military conflict is something we should be capable of avoiding in the first place, and these consequences continue to linger long after the battlefield falls silent.
The ongoing mental health and repatriation of veterans, and support for their families, needs a far greater level of support and resourcing than is presently provided.
November 11, 2018 might well be the 100th anniversary of the guns falling silent on the Western Front to mark the end World War I, but this solemn occasion, now less than 200 days away, also reminds us that we failed to learn from the harsh lessons of that war, with the world plunging once again into another major conflict in the guise of World War II a little over two decades later.
Since then, blood has been spilled and Australian military forces engaged in operations in places such as Malaya, Korea, Borneo, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Events such as Anzac Day, Vietnam Veterans Day, Armistice Day and all other military anniversaries remind us to be grateful for what we have, to be thankful to all those who have contributed part of their life towards preserving our Australian way of life, and especially those who made the supreme sacrifice.
They also remind us that we must continue to work towards attaining peace for people of all nations across the planet we share, and to never lose sight of the fact that peace should and must be preserved.
Every situation that Australia’s forces become involved in serves to highlight how important sustainable peace really is, not just for a peaceful nation such as Australia, but for everyone.
That’s why the fight against terrorism continues today, with Australia one of many nations committed to the vigilant process of keeping threats posed to our society by terror groups at bay.