Anzac Day Veterans’ Response
25 April 2020
Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Ret'd)
Good morning Australia. My name is Sharon Bown.
I am an Australian veteran. I am a Returned Service Nurse. And I am a descendant of the Anzacs.
My great uncle, Private Albert Arthur Reader, landed at Gallipoli 105 years ago today.
He was a stretcher bearer.
Like all who landed at Gallipoli that day, he was a man who lived his life in the service of others.
After rescuing the wounded under fire for two long years, he was killed on the Western Front.
Uncle Albert is commemorated here, in the heart of the Australian War Memorial. His name is listed on the Roll of Honour alongside the names of the friends with whom he served, but also, amid the names of friends with whom I served. Friends who were killed on more recent operations.
They represent two distinctly different generations of Australians, an entire century divides them, yet they all lived their lives in the service of others.
An image that reminds us of such selfless service, looks out over us here today.
A woman in a scarlet cape, standing beneath a universal symbol of charity – the Red Cross, and above a single word - Devotion.
She is a nurse.
She casts a powerful image of peace and yet she stands resolute and ready.
We each have the opportunity to cast ourselves in the image of the nurse. The image of the Anzac.
Let us do more than just honour those who have defended Australia.
In this time of crisis, let us recognise our innate capacity to do the same.
To unite and protect the more vulnerable among us.
To realise that the qualities for which we honour the Anzacs, live on within all of us.
Endurance, courage, ingenuity, good humour, mateship and Devotion - to duty, to each other, to Australia.
Lest We Forget.