Listening in the Silence – Remembrance Day 2021

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Speeches

Thursday, 11th November 2021

Listening in the Silence – Remembrance Day 2021

Lest we forget.

When the guns fell silent 103 years ago, an even greater silence already lay across the world.

The silence of 20 million voices stilled forever.

In the trenches. In the mud.

On narrow beaches and treacherous cliffs.

In village streets.

On the sea, and beneath the waves.

In the skies above, as humanity first began to turn the heavens into hell.

And on the fields that had once been meadows and farmland, the fertile bosom of life turned into a factory of death.

Among the dead were more than 60,000 Australians; 156,000 were wounded, gassed or taken prisoner.

Our home was not in any immediate danger, yet they heard the call of duty.

It is without doubt that many went with a sense of adventure, only to be disabused.

It is also without doubt that when they were put to the test, they were not found wanting.

Ponder the names on this cenotaph. The war was still young when it was erected by the people of the Balmain peninsula.

And they began recording the names of the young men who would never again walk these streets.

Among them are Private Cecil Robert Winch, who fell on the day of the first Gallipoli landing.

But even though they are now more than a century distant from us, we hold on to the names and the faces of these Australians.

They weren’t bronze sculptures. They were human beings. Sometimes they were fatigued. Sometimes they were afraid.

Yet they stood alongside their mates.

They stood alongside our allies.

And such was their courage and tenacity that the descendants of our allies from that war still speak with admiration, and gratitude.

And the descendants of our foes speak with respect.

Any consideration of their sacrifice carries the weight of the knowledge that the War to End All Wars was not a full stop, but a precursor to even greater horrors.

Time and time again, Australians have stepped up to push back the forces of darkness.

We have a sacred responsibility to care for those who volunteer to defend us even now.

We have a sacred responsibility to care for those who volunteer to defend us even now.

Many never come home the same, their old selves left behind forever on a distant battlefield.

Many never come home.

The minute of silence that we observe each Remembrance Day is a reminder that silence is anything but empty.

During that solemn minute, let our hearts fill with those voices.

Imagine them. All they were, and all they could have been.

All that could have sprung from their hearts, their minds and their hands had our world never known war.

We create this moment of quiet so that we can hear them.

So that they will not fade.

Lest we forget.

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Electorate Office

334a Marrickville Road
MARRICKVILLE NSW 2204

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

Parliament House Office

PO Box 6022
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6277 4022
Fax: (02) 6277 8562

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which our offices stand and we pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge the sorrow of the Stolen Generations and the impacts of colonisation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We also recognise the resilience, strength and pride of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

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