Those who fought here in places like Quinn’s Post, Pope’s Hill and the Nek changed forever the way we saw our world and ourselves. They bequeathed Australia a lasting sense of national identity. They sharpened our democratic temper and our questioning eye towards authority. We used to say that the ranks of the original Anzacs were thinning with each passing year. They are all gone now. Now what swells with each Anzac season is a hunger for their stories. Now we remember them not as old soldiers but as young Australians, often from the same suburbs, streets, districts and towns that we come from. Just as many of you have come here today with your brothers and your mates, so it was 90 years ago that the young of Australia surged forward to enlist along with their brothers and their mates …
History helps us to remember but the spirit of Anzac is greater than a debt to past deeds. It lives on in the valour and the sacrifice of young men and women that ennoble Australia in our time, in scrub in the Solomons, in the villages of Timor, in the deserts of Iraq and the coast of Nias. It lives on through a nation’s easy familiarity, through Australians looking out for each other, through courage and compassion in the face of adversity.
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