Anzac services return amid Ukraine predicament | Mandurah Courier


Thousands of Australians gathered to pay their respects to the military on Anzac Day in dawn ceremonies where the country’s leaders also recognized Ukraine’s fight for freedom.

For some states, the 107th anniversary commemorations of the Anzac landings in Gallipoli marked a return to normal crowds after two years of disruption due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The national dawn service in Canberra began with a moment of quiet reflection followed by the sound of a didgeridoo being played by Worimi’s man, Chief Airman Tarryn Roach.

Army veteran Mike Ruffin – who served in Malaysia, Borneo and Vietnam – told the service at the Australian War Memorial that it was a day to reflect on the Anzac spirit.

He spoke of his personal experience on New Year’s Eve in 1968 during the Vietnam War, which had forged a lasting bond between friends.

“In hindsight, it seems inconceivable that five men could run 100 yards of open ground while being subjected to such an amount of fire and not receive a single gunshot wound,” he said.

“If any of us had been injured, that would have been the end of it because we would never have left a mate behind.

“Every Anzac Day I look back on that experience and am so grateful that we all survived. We still stay in touch to this day.”

He said Australia was lucky that the current service personnel are “so highly trained, willing to take risks and committed to serving their country when asked to do so”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor deputy leader Richard Marles were in Darwin for services, while Labor leader Anthony Albanese remains in isolation at his Sydney home as he recovers from COVID-19.

Mr Morrison said as Australians honored their own dead who fought for freedom and liberty, “we stand with the people of Ukraine, who are doing the same right now”.

“Our world is changing. War is hitting Europe again. Coercion is once again confusing our region and an arc of autocracy is challenging the rules-based order our grandparents ensured.” he declared.

“People without democracy are once again in solidarity.”

Mr Albanese said in a video message that Australian character had been confirmed at Gallipoli and since then Australians had “stayed true as warriors and as builders and peacekeepers”.

“Yet, as the war in Ukraine so tragically reminds us, darkness is not defeated from the world,” he said.

“It reminds us that freedom cannot be taken for granted. It reminds us that freedom is not free.”

It is the first Anzac Day since the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, where 41 Australians have died in service.

The Canberra commemorations will include the first full veterans march in three years.

The RSL ACT branch has 41 contingents registered for the march, or between 850 and 900 walkers.

Governor General David Hurley will deliver an address to the nation from the Australian War Memorial after the march.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of Anzac Day commemorations at the memorial.

Overseas, Anzac services will take place in Turkey, France, Thailand, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.

Delivering the speech in Sydney, Major General Matthew Pearse said it was a day to thank all veterans for their service, sacrifice and resilience.

“They are filled with stories of ordinary Australians who came together despite adversity to support their friends and put their lives on the line to defend our national interests and secure a better future.”

Australian Associated Press


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