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Remembering Those Who Return

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 November 11, 2016.

By MarEx 2016-11-12 19:55:55

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.

Although the focus of the anniversary is on the First World War, Australians also recognized that the Australian Navy has around 300 Darwin and Adelaide-based personnel imminently preparing to deploy to Iraq. 

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 and assist the Afghan security forces. Members are also contributing to security, peacekeeping missions around the world.

Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin said: "Each of them has family waiting anxiously for them at home - just as Australian families did more than 100 years ago.”

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 recognize 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," Binskin said.
 
The national service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra coincided with the 75th anniversary of the opening of the facility. The commemorative address was given by former Victorian Premier, the Honorable Jeff Kennett, Chairman of mental health organization 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," Kennett said.
"They bring the battles home with them."

He said more returned military personnel had died on home soil through suicide in the past year alone, than died during the entire Afghanistan conflict.

"We should never forget, and we will never forget. But let us also remember our obligations to those who are serving, to those who return from conflicts with broken bodies and minds, so that we commit ourselves as a nation to work with them to ensure their return to Australia is happy, worthwhile and lasting," he said.

"We do not have the right to ask these people to risk their lives for us, only then to abandon them when they need us most."