Published: Mon 11 Nov 2013

Today marks the 95th anniversary of the Armistice on 11 November 1918 which ended the First World War (1914–1918). On 11 November each year, the Australian War Memorial commemorates through its National Ceremony the servicemen and women who have died or suffered in all wars, armed conflicts, and peace operations.

Over 2,200 people braved the wet weather to attend today’s National Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Memorial.

The National Ceremony was attended by Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia; Senator the Honourable Michael Ronaldson, representing the Prime Minister; the Honourable Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition; the President of the French Senate, Senator Jean-Pierre Bel; and veterans and serving members of the Australian Defence Force and their families.

This year the Commemorative Address was delivered by the Honourable Paul Keating, to mark the 20th anniversary of the re-interment of the Unknown Australian Soldier in the Memorial’s Hall of Memory. A bronze plaque cast with the eulogy for the Unknown Australian Soldier, delivered by Mr Keating as Prime Minister in 1993, was unveiled in the entrance to the Hall of Memory.

“The National Ceremony was a tremendously moving occasion that honoured the enormous sacrifices of everyday Australians,” said Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial.

“The enshrining of former Prime Minister Keating’s towering eulogy for the Unknown Australian Soldier gives permanence to one of the most significant speeches in Australian history and is a great testament to the Unknown Australian Soldier, and to all those men and women who have given their lives in our name.”

The National Ceremony followed a private ceremony to unveil the names of two Australian soldiers on the Afghanistan Roll of Honour panel: Corporal Scott James Smith; and Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird MG. The number of Australians on the Afghanistan Roll of Honour panel has now risen to 40.

At the Last Post ceremony held later on Remembrance Day, the eulogy for the Unknown Australian Soldier was read by Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG. The eulogy will now be read at the Last Post ceremony each year on Remembrance Day.

Here is their spirit, in the heart of the land they loved; and here we guard the record which they themselves made.
Charles Bean, 1948


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