This year, 2018, marks 100 years since the end of World War 1. After four years of bloodshed and hundreds of thousands of lives lost, World War 1 came to a close.
In 1914, when the war had just started, Australia was barely a nation.
A decade old, we were lead to war, not understanding the harm that it would cause us.
At that point, Australia didn’t have an identity, as far as anyone was concerned, it was a colony on the other side of the world.
Throughout WW1, we learned as a nation what it was to have an identity, something that collectively defined us as people and while times have changed, the message is still bound in the shores of our nation girt by sea.
It lays in our beaches, where the sand touches the water. It flies through the sky with our kookaburra in tow.
It is smelt in the eucalyptus leaves and the minty air of the bush.
It is seen through the smiles on our faces and the tears that stain our cheeks.
The brotherhood. the spirit and the sense of pride binds all these soldiers, cadets, corporals, colonels, sergeants and retired service men and women and us, as people, as a nation together.
On Anzac Day we gather as a community to remember those who came before us, with faces lit up with smiles, for we are proud of our ancestors and appreciate all that they have given us.
As the next generation take the reigns, we look forward where they will lead us. For we are a community full of warmth and belonging.
Standing in the thick of the crowd on Anzac Day at 4 in the morning is eye-opening, you immediately feel connected by this strong sense, a warmth resonates with you, a sense of joy and belonging, belonging to a group of strangers standing in silence, with only the sound of the bugle cutting through and reminding you of the message.
You feel the compassion of strangers around you, ready to support you if things go pear-shaped. This is the heart of the Australian spirit, the core of the Australian identity, the Australian community, that pulls you towards it.
This community spirit means that the young and old can stand, side by side, arm in arm, proud to represent our country.
We commemorate those who we have lost and recognise what they fought for, they fought for Australia and it’s identity.
However, we also look toward the future as the next generation take their baton and run their part of the relay.
The next generation of servicemen and women are stepping in and leading Australia, but not forgetting the legacy that those before them left behind.
Welcome to Australia, a nation bound by grief and bloodshed, but above all spirit and community.
As Australians, we are proud of the nation we are and spread a joyous spirit around to form brother and sisterhoods that form our legacy, the foundation of our identity.
We are all connected with one another, by mistake or by intention and we form a brethren of people who come together to celebrate our past, present and our future on a day known as Anzac Day. Lest we forget.