Message from Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell.
CAPTION: Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell pays his respects to the Unknown Australian Soldier at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Story by General Angus Campbell. Photo by Jay Cronan.
By the time the guns fell silent on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, more than 60,000 Australian sailors, soldiers and aviators had died among about 16 million other combatants and civilians in the Great War.
In the wars and conflicts since, more than 40,000 Australian men and women have given their lives for our nation. To this day, 33,000 Australians are commemorated on Memorials to the Missing.
On Remembrance Day, we remember all Australians who have served our nation.
We remember all those who, in making the ultimate sacrifice, lay at permanent rest in near and distant lands and waters.
We remember their colleagues and mates who returned home; especially those physically, mentally or spiritually wounded – forever changed.
We remember their sacrifice, selflessness, bravery and determination.
And we remember their families, and their sense of grief and loss.
Many lie in unmarked graves across the battlefields of Western Europe, Türkiye, Korea, South-East Asia and the Pacific, while others are forever laid to rest at sea.
Although their remains are unidentified or undiscovered, they are not forgotten.
Remembrance Day this year marks the 30th anniversary of the entombment of the Unknown Australian Soldier at the Australian War Memorial.
He made the final journey home on behalf of all those who did not.
While we do not know his name, he is all of them and he is one of us.
We remember them.
We give thanks to them.
We honour them.
Lest we forget.