Remembrance Day reflects on service past and present

This article has photo gallery Published on CMDR Chloe Wootten (author), SGT Janine Fabre (photographer), Mrs Lauren Larking (photographer)

Location(s): Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Topic(s): Remembrance Day

Able Seaman Boatswain's Mate Alan Paterson plays the Didgeridoo during the 2016 Remembrance Day Service held at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on 11 November, 2016. (photo: Lauren Larking)
Able Seaman Boatswain's Mate Alan Paterson plays the Didgeridoo during the 2016 Remembrance Day Service held at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on 11 November, 2016.

As people of all nations paused to remember more than a century of military service this Remembrance Day, many service men and women were again preparing to deploy on overseas operations.

Royal Australian Navy Anzac frigates have Middle Eastern missions completing and commencing this weekend with the return to Australia of HMAS Perth today and departure of HMAS Arunta on Sunday from Rockingham, Western Australia.
 
Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin noted that the demands on the nation's military were not diminishing, with Australian Defence Force personnel tasked to operations in theatres across the globe.

"Today as we remember the fallen we also recognise the 2,300 service men and women who are deployed on operations and peacekeeping around the world. Like those before them, they are making an important contribution to our safety and security," Air Chief Marshal Binskin said.
 
The national service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, conicided with the 75th anniversary of the opening of the facility. The Prime Minister, politicians, local and international dignitaries, the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), and Lady Cosgrove were amongst those honouring service and sacrifice.
 
The commemorative address was given by former Victorian Premier, the Honourable Jeff Kennett AC, Chairman of mental health organisation beyondblue - with a focus on the wellbeing of those who serve and have served.
 
"We know that many who return, don't leave those battlefields behind," Mr Kennett said.

"They bring the battles home with them."
 
Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Alan Paterson, of HMAS Adelaide, and a member of the Gunggandji people, brought haunting strains of his didgeridoo to the commemoration. He has previously performed at the Memorial's Anzac Day Dawn Service in 2015.

Although the focus of the anniversary is on the First World War, it is important to reflect on the tempo of current operations, with family and friends formally farewelling around 300 Darwin and Adelaide-based personnel preparing to deploy to Iraq shortly.
 
Australian Defence Force personnel are currently deployed as part of the international effort to combat the Daesh terrorist threat in Iraq and Syria and in Afghanistan where they continue to work with NATO partners to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces. Members are also contributing to security and peacekeeping missions around the world.
 
"Each of them has family waiting anxiously for them at home - just as Australian families did more than 100 years ago," Air Chief Marshal Binskin said.
 
Australian Defence Force personnel joined local communities across the country this morning to honour all those who have suffered, sacrificed or given their lives in their service to our nation.

More images are available at Defence Image Gallery