'At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.' 

A special service was held at the Junior and Secondary Assemblies this week to pay tribute to past and present Australian and New Zealand soldiers.

We had the privilege to hear an inspiring message (you can read it below the photos) from a Northside Alumna 2003, Lieutenant Commander of Royal Australian Navy, Deanna Garbutt. 

ANZAC Day 2021 Message from Lieutenant Commander Garbutt

It’s my pleasure to be here today to talk to you about why we come together to remember ANZAC Day. Today we want to honour, not just the first men and women who became the ANZAC’s, but all the men and woman who have committed to serving our country.

When World War I broke out, Australia, as a country, was only 13 years old, and New Zealand was just 7 years old. We were very young countries, with very small populations. In fact, when the British Empire called for reinforcements from our countries to join the war effort, neither Australia nor New Zealand actually had enough people to form their own Army Corps. And so a combined Corps was formed - The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps or ANZAC for short. The force was made up entirely of volunteers from from all over Australia and New Zealand.

Now in 1914, Australia didn’t know its own identity, not really. So when those first ANZACs went to war, they did so to fight for our future. They didn’t know what their country was going to look like, but they believed in what it could be. They were prepared to sacrifice everything out of a belief that if given the chance, our countries could be great. They wanted to give hope and a foundation for our future. This is the same reason men and women continue to serve today.

And they succeeded. By the end of the war, those ANZACs had done us all proud. And that reputation they established, is what we now call “the ANZAC spirit”. Today the Australian Defence Force still draws on that ANZAC spirit through our core values of Service, Courage, Respect, Integrity and Excellence.  Those ANZACs also led the formation of a really close, unbreakable bond between Australia and New Zealand that continues to this day. And the New Zealand Defence Force and our own Australian Defence Force continue to work closely together.

So why did those ANZACs show such spirit when they went to fight for us? The simplest answer is love. Love for their country, for their family and friends and for the mates fighting beside them and the simple unshakeable belief that the greatest honour a person could have, would be to give up their life for their friends.

This is the same as the love God showed for us that we read about in the Bible.

The Bible repeatedly tells us to love God, and therefore to love others. In John chapter 15 verse 13 it says 'Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends’. And 1 John chapter 3, verse 16 tells us, 'this is how we know what love is—Jesus laid down his life for us, so we ought to lay down our lives for others.'

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13

ANZAC Day is not about commemorating or glorifying war, conflict or hatred. And serving in the Defence Force is not about wanting to fight. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The reason people serve, the reason I serve, is simply out of love. By signing up to defend Australia I am helping protect my loved ones. I joined the defence force because I wanted to defend my family, one of whom many of you know and she’s here today as a year two teacher, my big sister, Mrs Tricia Bernhofen.

Even when not at war, the defence force is actively protecting this country. Because by preparing and being ready and willing to go into battle, it is hoped that we don’t have to. Our purpose is to make our enemies not want to fight us and therefore our home, our country, our families and even ourselves can live in peace.

So in many ways, those who serve are first and foremost peacemakers.

But it does come with a lot of sacrifices. I have missed many birthdays, Christmas and holidays. There is a lot of time away from home and away from families and not always comfy of places to sleep or nicest jobs to do. But it is worth it, for the safety of my country.

Self-sacrificial love, the type God is talking about in the bible, means putting other people first, putting their needs above your own and serving them, even if it is costly. Again, this is what the ANZACs, our war veterans, and service personnel embody, and this is why we honour them.

Self-sacrificial love, the type God is talking about in the bible, means putting other people first, putting their needs above your own and serving them, even if it is costly. Again, this is what the ANZACs, our war veterans, and service personnel embody, and this is why we honour them.

So how do we all honour our service personnel? Well firstly we gather together on ANZAC Day to remember their sacrifices for our future. But much more than that, we honour their sacrifice and we make it worthwhile by making the absolute most of the opportunity that they have given us, and working together to make this country even better for the next generation. How do we do that? By living the christian values that are central to the ANZAC spirit. Respect, Service, Courage, Integrity and Excellence.

RESPECT

Show respect at all times, to everyone, and especially to those who you don’t agree with. It is different opinions and ideas that make us special. Next time you hop off the bus, say thanks to the bus driver, their job is important. Be respectful and polite to your teachers, they are here to help you become your best.

SERVICE

Demonstrate acts of service by placing others before yourself. And you don’t need to join the Defence Force, emergency services or any specific career to serve - you can do it every day. For example, if your waiting in line and you’re not in a hurry but clearly the person behind you is, let them go in front. If you see someone struggling to carry something, offer to help if you can, if you see someone having a bad day, ask them if they are okay. Show mateship, show love, for everyone else and remember that it is so much easier to achieve something when you work together than on your own.

COURAGE

Show courage to stand up for what is right and for what you believe in. You don’t have to be in a war or the military to show courage. If you see someone doing the wrong thing, stand up to them. If you have an opportunity to go and do something you really want to do, but it scares you - go for it anyway! Stand up there and make that speech, try out for that sports team, audition for that role in the musical. Go for it. It’s okay to be scared or nervous. Courage is doing it anyway

INTEGRITY

Uphold your own integrity. Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is looking and even if you don’t agree with the rule. So stop talking in class when the teacher asks you to be quiet!

EXCELLENCE

And lastly, strive for excellence in whatever you do. Just get out there and be the best you that you can be. Make the most of the opportunities that are presented to you. Strive for excellence in your studies here at school, even if it is not something you like or think you are good at, just give it your best go, that is what is really important.

We now live in one of the greatest countries in the world, because our service personnel give us the best possible chance at a future through their sacrifice. It’s up to us now to make the most of that opportunity they gave us and to play our part in giving future generations an even better country.

For our tomorrow they give their today.

Now it’s our turn.

Lest we forget.