Next generation embrace the Anzac spirit
Arabella Bailey, 2, and her father, Afghanistan veteran Jamie Bailey, place a poppy on the Roll of Honour at the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on Sunday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
JAMIE BAILEY makes the trip to the Australian War Memorial each year for Remembrance Day.
For the Canberra veteran of Afghanistan, it is an opportunity to pay respect to his mates. ''I've lost quite a few friends,'' Mr Bailey said, having spent almost eight years in the Australian Defence Force.
''Everyone is from different parts of the country and it's not possible to get around to everybody's grave all on the same day.''
Remembering the fallen
Remembering the fallen. Photo: Ben Rushton
After putting a poppy in the wall with his two-year-old daughter Arabella, Mr Bailey planned to view the names of nine soldiers who have died over the past year and who were added to the War Memorial's roll of honour in a private ceremony on Sunday.
Standing near the queue to view the nine names, three army captains remembered their friend Captain Bryce Duffy, who was killed in Afghanistan on October 29 last year. ''For me, it's just overwhelming sadness and it's a bit surreal … we were close mates with the guy who was killed,'' one of them said.
Close to 4000 people, including the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, attended the Remembrance Day service.
The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, attended a service in Alice Springs.
The Chief of the Defence Force, David Hurley, told the Canberra gathering he had attended memorial ceremonies in battlefields from Anzac Cove to Tarin Kowt. ''As I've grown older and understood the blessings of a long life, these occasions have become more poignant,'' he said.
He said today's ADF members were heirs of the Anzac legacy, which they embraced with respect and dignity. ''This is a service that knows loss. Those who are called to fight know that there is nothing glorious about war.''
Australia has lost 39 ADF members in Afghanistan since 2002 and the Defence Chief noted that some families were painfully aware that war was not just about the distant past.
''You remind us that today's ceremony is not only about generations past but about our generation, our times and our today,'' he said.
As part of the ceremony, 102 schoolchildren placed poppies to represent the 102,000 Australian servicemen and women who have died in all wars.
Ellie Brewer, 16, from Gunghalin College in Canberra, said it was a real honour to be asked to place a poppy.
''I think its really important because it symbolises that the next generation is getting into the Anzac Day, Remembrance Day thing, and passing on the traditions,'' she said.