As thousands gather today at war memorials across the country it's timely to reflect on the sacrifice others have made to protect our way of life. Not only does Anzac Day pay tribute to that sacrifice, it serves as a reminder of the great human cost that war inflicts on all sides.
It's thanks to the men and women of our armed forces past and present that we enjoy freedom in all its forms. Current tensions on the Korean peninsular and the Middle East serve as a reminder that peace can't be taken for granted.
This year also marks the anniversary of many significant battles during the First and Second World Wars.
It's 100 years since Australians fought and died on the Western Front at places including Bullecourt, Passchendaele and Messines.
It's 75 years since the Kokoda Track was the scene of resistance to Japan's invasion of Australia's northern borders and in August 1942 the HMAS Canberra was lost in action near the Solomon Islands.
At Bullecourt in April 1917, Australian forces attacked the heavily fortified village on the Hindenburg Line.
Sadly, the result was a debacle. The failure of tanks to get forward left the Australians with bitter feelings about this new weapon and doubtful of its value. Later attacks in May drew three more Australian divisions into an intense two-week struggle for the village.
Finally, Bullecourt was taken but no further advance was possible. In all, the battles cost more than 10,000 Australian casualties.
At Passchendaele, losses were horrendous on both sides. During the five-month campaign, almost half a million men were lost. The fighting in these weeks cost the Australians another 38,000 casualties.
Peace was short lived after the slaughter of the "Great War" and this year marks the 75th anniversary of some important battles in World War II, when Australia's security was directly threatened.
Canberrans may pause and reflect this Anzac Day on the loss of the heavy cruiser which bore the city's name.
On 9 August 1942, HMAS Canberra was struck by the opening Japanese shots of the Battle of Savo Island, and was quickly damaged. Unable to propel herself, the cruiser was evacuated and sunk.
Some 84 Australian personnel died in the battle, along with 939 American officers and sailors, mostly from three US heavy cruisers that suffered the same fate as the Canberra.
Anzac Day is a solemn commemoration. It's a time to remember sacrifice and to be thankful for peace.
In these uncertain times we can be especially grateful that our armed forces stand ready, willing and able to serve Australia if the need should arise again.