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ANZAC Day Speech

It is indeed a great honour to be here.

The memorial stone which we dedicate today is a tribute to the sons and daughters of Brooklyn who served our nation.

The stone bears the names of ordinary men and women from our community. Names like Douglas Bennington, a fisherman, Robert Buie, an oyster farmer, or Sydney Fuller, who ran a local boarding house. Ordinary people like you and me, who through their bravery and sacrifice proved anything but ordinary.

The wars they fought in altered the course of world history. The wars they fought in altered the coure of their young lives.

Some like Jack Cameron were teenagers when they left home to fight. Some like Robert Parkhill had served multiple tours of duty, far from families who bore a heroic burden of their own, enduring the absence of a husband's embrace or a mother's kiss.

Most painfully, many like Henry Brown of Tom Johnson made the ultimate sacrifice - a sacrifice of young life - of future potential, cut down in a bitter harvest.

Almost all of our dead were civilians in peacetime. The toll did not leave gaps in our armcy barracks but rather on our farms, in our shops and in towns like Brooklyn.

A cruel fact is that Australians have lost over 100,000 lives this century in the cauldron of battle. An enormous toll for a country with a small population - and certainly a country with none of it to spare.

But these Australians did not die in vain. They gave their lives for the values that have lived in the hearts of our people since federation. Values of Freedom, of democracy, of mateship.

Along with hundreds of thousands of Australians who have serced our country, the men and women listed on the memorial here, fought in faraway places they never knwe. They stared into the darkest of human creations - war - and helped uas all seek the light of peace.

The hero's on this memorial fought to see that the lives of their children and the generations who would follow them, were better than their own.

All of them - those who died, the veterans, and their families - will always have the thanks of a grateful nation.

The renewed memorial builds on the honouring of our engagement in the Second World War and enables reflection on the role played by men and women in all our conflicts from the First World War to the present day campaigns and peacekeeping.

These theatres of conflict are many and ongoing. They encompass not only past engagements in Gallipoil and the Western Front and our Second World War conflicts, but also those such as Korea, the Malayan Emergency, Vietnam, Timor, the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Therefore, the building of the Brooklyn War Memorial which we are here to dedicate, gives us an appropriate vehicle to honour all our arenas of war and peacekeeping.

The Memorial now embraces the heroism and the selfless sacrifice of all who have given, those who have paid the ultimate price, and those who continue to contribute from our neighbourhoods.

It enables us to also capture the resilience of families, the wives, sons, daughters, grandparents, who supported and continue to support the legacy of service to your community.

In ten days time, our citizens will gather at Memorials across our regions and suburbs to hnour the Anzac legend and give voice to our immense gratitude to our nation's duty of service.

The Brooklyn War Memorial is a fitting tribute to our story of selfless sacrifice and will ensure that future generations will never forget the legacy of ANZAC.

Their memory must not be diminished by the passage of time. It is up to all of us to keep the flame of rememberance alight.

We shall honour and remember them.

Lest we forget.