A memorial to honour the work of more than 80,000 Australian Defence Force members, police and civilian peacekeepers, was dedicated by Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (retd) on Anzac Parade, Canberra, on 14 September.
The dedication coincided with the 70th anniversary of the deployment of the first Australian peacekeepers to the United Nations Good Offices Mission to Indonesia, then the Dutch East Indies, in 1947.
The Governor General said it was natural to desire peace.
“It’s about the absolute importance of humanity and compassion,” he said.
“It’s much harder to achieve peace and to actually protect the vulnerable and the dispossessed.
“It seems part of the human condition to want it with every fibre of our being, but never to attain perfect peace.
“Well, for 70 years Australian peacekeepers have served and sacrificed in the name of peace and this continues to this day.”
The Governor General said in missions right across the world, from the Middle East to Africa, from Asia to the Pacific, Australian peacekeepers were distinguished by their dedication and courage.
“Protecting children from abuse and exploitation, freeing others from a life as child soldiers, supporting democratic elections that are free and fair, stepping in in times of crisis and conflict,” he said.
“They do so to make the peace, to keep the peace, and honour those before them.
“In their blue berets, peacekeepers are a symbol of hope, they save lives, they change lives, they restore order, and bring security and stability.”
Chairman of the Australian Peacekeeping Memorial Project Committee Major General Tim Ford (retd) said he was proud of the magnificent record of Australian peacekeepers who were being recognised with the memorial.
“Their commitment in the service of peace is notable,” he said.
“I’m also proud Australia is acknowledging the service and sacrifice of its peacekeepers in such a significant way, and I’m proud of the achievement that has been made in constructing such a wonderful national memorial on such a most appropriate site.”