"More so than at any other time in recent memory, this year Australians and New Zealanders really understand what it means to personally sacrifice for our country.

When WW1 broke out, our countries were very, very young. We didn’t know our own identity, not really. So when those first ANZACs went to war, over 100 years ago, they did so almost entirely because they wanted to fight for a belief, a hope, of what we could one day become. They fought for our future.

There wasn’t a long history, an established reputation or generations of forebears to represent. They didn’t know what their country was going to look like, but they believed in what it could be. The great motherland and empire may have called them to fight, but it was their new independent fledgling country that they wanted to do proud. They went away determined to create a favourable reputation, to set the greatest standard of what it means to call yourself an Aussie or a Kiwi. But most of all, they were prepared to sacrifice their lives out of a belief that if given the chance, we could be great. They wanted to give hope and a foundation for the future generations to thrive.

They succeeded. And that reputation they established, is what we now call “the ANZAC spirit”. A spirit of determination, selflessness, courage and above all an unshakeable belief that the greatest honour a person could have, would be to give up their life for their friends."

"2020 has been rough. And we are only four months in. First the Bushfire season that was so deadly, then floods and now Coronavirus which poses the greatest threat to our way of life and future since WWII. The hardest part of this new threat, especially for those of us serving in the Defence Force is that it is one that cannot be met with firepower. The ADF, charged with defending Australia, cannot protect you from this. We ALL have to do it. Together. And this is where the ANZAC spirit has set us up for success. This is why now more than ever, we owe those first ANZACs our gratitude.    

To conquer this threat, the entire country must pull together to sacrifice for the future generations to have a chance. And we are doing that, because we know what the ANZAC spirit is, and we know that it is so deeply ingrained in our culture that it is who the modern day Aussies and Kiwis are.

On a day when we stop to remember those who served, I want to say thankyou, to everyone that we have the honour to defend.

To the health care workers who deliberately place themselves in harm’s way to save others. To the emergency services especially, but everyone who is still at work because their work is essential and they have to go, despite an increased risk.

To the Teachers who have had to figure out a completely different way of doing what they love, in order to safeguard the future of the next generation.

To the students who willingly adapt to a new way of study, knowing that their education will help them contribute to our country in the future.

To everyone, who despite the restrictions, despite the massive changes to our way of life, despite the distances to loved ones and friends, continues to find a way to smile, to look out for each other, and to do whatever they can to help us come out the other side of this challenge in the best possible position to recover.

To all those people, you make me incredibly proud of the country I signed up to defend. You make the sacrifice of the ANZACs, worth it.

Australia and New Zealand are who they are today, because those ANZACS gave us the best possible chance.

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

Now it’s our turn.

Lest we forget."

Deanna K Garbutt
Lieutenant Commander, Royal Australian Navy
Northside Christian College, Class of 2003