ANZAC Day Speech by His Excellency Dr. Brett Mason, Australia’s Ambassador to the Netherlands on 25 April, 2018
Australians and New Zealanders are often teased that we do not take our history or ourselves too seriously. This might be true. But ladies and gentleman, we believe ANZAC Day is important. It is, as the playwrights say, “The One Day of the Year.” For our sense of national identity, our sense of what it means to be an Australian or New Zealander, was first tested on the slopes of the Gallipoli peninsular in Turkey 103 years ago.
Our nations were young then, very young. We sought to test ourselves against the nations of the Old World and we were not found wanting. It was the birth of the spirit of Australia and New Zealand – of Aussie courage and Kiwi valour.
And we remember everyone who served on the Gallipoli Peninsula: Australians, New Zealanders, the British, Irish, French, Indians and Canadians – and the Turks too. And we remember Malta, who treated and cared for the Anzacs and was to them “The Nurse of the Mediterranean.”
To us, they are Anzacs – legends; but in 1915 they were just like we are today – just like us – fathers, sons, parents, children, cousins and mates.
We commemorate today not a few great names, but the many – the Aussie and the Kiwi digger. We remember all our soldiers who have fought in war, in our name, since the first ANZACs went ashore at dawn 25 April 1915.
Today, let me tell you about just one.
A young Australian who lies in the heart of the Netherlands……. Read More