Ben Farinazzo, For Every Drop Shed in Anguish Dedication Ceremony

5 mins read

Good morning.

Thank you for the opportunity to share these words on behalf of our committee. Before I begin, we would like to recognise our strong and resilient veteran community, whilst also acknowledging that there are those among us suffering the physical and psychological impact of war and service.  We would like to thank Alex Seton for this meaningful sculpture, the first of its kind at the Australian War Memorial.  We would also like to acknowledge a special group of people who have shared this journey with us, every step of the way – without their dedication, compassion and support we would not be here– please join me in thanking the team at the Australian War Memorial.

We will remember them. Yet many feel forgotten.

Here at the heart of the Australian War Memorial, we remember those who have fallen. The Roll of Honour consists of a long series of bronze panels recording the names of over 103,000 members of the Australian armed forces who have died during or as a result of their service.

Attention is rightly given to those who died during war. However, there are many who survived and are left suffering from physical and psychological wounds, and there are many that also have seen and unseen wounds as a result of their service. Many have not been acknowledged and many have felt forgotten.

There are those who suffer physical wounds. Those who have served and wear pins, not only on their chests but in their knees, shoulders, and backs. From jumping in and out of vehicles, ships, subs and aircraft, to lifting and lugging equipment, to being shot at, blown up or smashed up in some bloody accident. Those with ringing ears, choking chests, missing limbs, acquired brain injuries, strokes, broken bones and blown-up bodies. Living with the knowledge that many of these ‘scars’ will serve as constant reminders of discomfort, disfigurement, and pain.

We acknowledge you. This sculpture serves to remind us that you are not forgotten.

There are those who suffer psychological wounds. Those who have served and carry not only packs but anguish, trauma, incessant nightmares, panic attacks, anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Labels for unseen injuries, that when left untreated can spread like cancer consuming the mind, tearing apart relationships and destroying lives.

Many have found ways to reclaim their lives but will remain forever changed. Many have battled shame and guilt to seek help, only to be turned away and left feeling as though they have been tossed to the curb and abandoned, not only by those that they served with, but by the country that they fought for.

Tragically, some after carrying the suffering of war and service way too long, way too far - having fought a good fight - have died by suicide. This is a national disaster and in many cases could have been prevented. We as a committee, acknowledge the efforts of those to bring about much-needed change, knowing that it will never bring back our children, our loved ones, or our mates. There is still so much more that needs to be done.

We acknowledge you. This sculpture serves to remind us that you are not forgotten.

These dew-like marble droplets, spread across these green waves reminds us of the ripple effect on families, carers, loved ones, friends – our kids – and the profound impact on our communities, our country and future generations.

Those who check on their friends and loved ones daily, making sure that they have showered and eaten.

Those who reach out to friends because they have reached wit's end and don’t know what to do anymore.

Those who just need a space to cry and cry and cry so that they can then wipe back the tears, step back into the house, and get ready for dinner.

To all of you who have tried, and tried, and tried - and nothing seems to work - and you feel empty and alone having lost that loved one forever.

We acknowledge you all. Every single one of you and this sculpture serves to remind us that you and them are not forgotten.

For some this sculpture represents a place to grieve and a timeless reminder of the long-term cost of war and service.

For some the stunning white and red veins of iron ore reflect their journey of blood, sweat and tears and a place of peace, solitude, and reflection.

For some touching these beautiful droplets of discarded marble reveals an inner strength, a resilience, and the gleaming light off the surface surrounded by trees and singing birds brings with it a promise of hope and healing.

Let me conclude by saying, we acknowledge that everyone's life experience is different and that everyone moves through the suffering of war and service in their own way, at their own pace.

We have learnt that the blood, sweat, and tears shed by those who have served, and their loved ones is best done with the support, recognition and embrace of the community.

Whereas in the past there was no place for acknowledgement, no place for our community, us, to come together to recognise the sufferings of war and service - we are grateful that we now have this new sculpture aptly titled For Every Drop Shed in Anguish to bring our community closer together.

A place and sculpture that serves to remind us that we, our families, our loved ones, our friends and our mates are not forgotten.

Last updated: