ANZAC Day has always been a time when I pause and where possible attend an event.
My father was too young to serve in the war, but his elder brother Roy went off as a teenager and served as a stoker on the battleship HMAS Sydney.
When I was a boy my father told me about the day when a letter was delivered to his parents to let them know the Sydney was sunk and there were seemingly no survivors.
Years later his brother’s name was placed on a plaque at the War Memorial in Canberra and also at a small remembrance garden in Chatswood, Sydney near where he had lived.
We had a framed photo of the HMAS Sydney’s crew of 645 and dad would go to great pains to point out exactly where his elder brother was in the photo.
That photo lived on our lounge room wall and it served as a constant reminder to us all about why ANZAC Day was a so special.
What made Roy’s death so much harder to endure for the family was the fact that the wreck of the Sydney was not located until 2008.
It was found sitting on the bottom of the Indian Ocean some 207km off the West Australian coast.
The wreck of the German raider the Kormoran, which sunk the Sydney was resting just a 14 miles from where the Sydney lay.
The loss of the Sydney and all her crew left Australians stunned and the mystery surrounding how this mighty ship could have been sunk produced many conspiracy theories.
While war has fortunately only scratched the surface of my life there are many who are still coming to grips with the loss of family and loved ones.
On ANZAC Day we had the opportunity to honour those who went into battle for our future.
Thankfully many came back, scarred, but none the less alive.
As I watched the few remaining veterans ride and march in the parade yesterday I reflected on what the war days were like.
What was it like to see you father, brother, mother or sister walk out the door to join the fight for freedom.
Unfortunately it is not all behind us as Russia’s ruthless invasion of Ukraine has revealed.
Yes, we are lucky we live in a great country far away from the conflicts of Europe.
And yes we are lucky that our ancestors showed amazing bravery to defend us from the tyrants of war.
Thanks Diggers, you were truly remarkable, we all stand and salute you.