Apr 25, 2019

Speech – Remembering the price of freedom – Anzac Day Service – Balmain – Thursday, 25 April 2019

More than 100 years after the end of the First World War, we gather again today to recognise and remember the sacrifices made by those Australians who served, as well as the service and the sacrifices made by those Australians who followed in their footsteps.

As the dawn breaks on ANZAC Day, all over Australia, we come to places like these, solemnly, silently, and respectfully.

We do not come to glorify war.

We come here to remember the sacrifices of so many ordinary Australians, caught up in extraordinary events throughout our history.

Young people who, in the prime of their lives, in places a world away from home, made the ultimate sacrifice for Australia, and for their mates alongside them.

Sacrifice means giving something up.

These Australians gave up their youth, their health, and many gave up their lives for Australia.

Young Australians like Henry Drysdale, who was 20 years old, and a junior blacksmith.

Or Roy Bogle, who was 23 years old, and a butcher.

Both young men were from Balmain.

They walked these streets.

Henry and Roy died within days of one another at Villers-Bretonneux in July of 1918, just months before the Armistice was declared and the guns finally fell silent.

The world would be a very different place without the service and the sacrifice of Australians like Henry Drysdale and Roy Bogle.

The world would also be a very different place without the sacrifice of Australians like Sister Marie Eileen Craig.

Sister Craig was born in Balmain, and joined the Royal Australian Air Force Nursing Service during the Second World War.

She flew into combat zones in New Guinea that were only accessible from the air, to care for and evacuate Australians who were wounded in the fight to defend our country from Japanese forces.

On the 18th of September 1945, the aircraft carrying Sister Craig and 27 of her patients went missing on a flight between Biak and Horn Island. She was 33 years old.

She gave her life to care for other Australians.

We must remember the sacrifice of people like Sister Craig.

We must remember all of those men and women who served in both World War One and World War Two.

Just as we must never forget the sacrifices of hundreds of other Australians who served in the Korean War, in the Vietnam War and in the many conflicts that followed.

Just as we must recognise the commitment of Australians who are currently serving around the world today.

Australians are fortunate to live in a democracy.

Ours is a wonderful nation, where people are free to make their own choices, to hold their own views and to live life as they choose.

We are so lucky.

On Anzac Day, we reflect on those who paid the price of our freedom.

Our nation owes them a great and incalculable debt.

We will remember them.

Lest we forget.