Reflections on ANZAC Day 2023

By Len Russell, CEO AVCAT

L-R: Len Russell CEO AVCAT,  Victoria Benz Deputy Commissioner DVA NSW/ACT, Mr Ron O’Connor Director TPI NSW

On April 25th, 2023, we commemorated those men and women who have served and are serving our nation in the armed forces. It is a day of significance for many Australians in both remembering those who have come before and served in times of war and those soldiers, sailors and aviators currently serving in peacekeeping actions.

On ANZAC Day, I participated in the march and dawn service hosted by the Seven Hills RSL sub-branch at my local RSL club. Like so many ANZAC Day services held around the country, we marched and then heard about the comradery, sacrifice, and essential work of those who have served in conflicts and peacekeeping actions over many years. 

In the lead-up to this ANZAC Day, I was fortunate enough to participate in several commemorative services here in Sydney.

On Thursday 20 April, I attended the ANZAC Field of Remembrance service held at Sydney’s St Andrew’s Cathedral for the Australian War Widows NSW branch. It was an opportunity to reflect on the lives lost of those who have served and are no longer with us and to recognise and honour the losses and sacrifices made by the widows of war and their families. 

L-R: Diane Langmack OAM General Manager, Bulldogs Football Club, Robert Ridge President Five Dock RSL sub-branch, John Khoury Chair Bulldogs Football Club, David Clarke Secretary, Five Dock RSL sub-branch, Aaron Warburton CEO Bulldogs Football Club, Len Russell CEO AVCAT

It was a pleasure to attend the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway ANZAC service on Saturday 22 April. I listened to their guest speaker, Lieutenant Colonel Garth Callender (Retd), now chair of Bravery Trust. He spoke about the ongoing battles some serving members of our defence force and their families face every day. Some have good days, and some not so. He spoke about his comrades who have transitioned back into civilian life, and the importance of assisting veterans with this transition.

I was delighted to be invited to attend the march and commemorative service in Five Dock Park on Sunday 24 April with the Five Dock RSL sub-branch. After the service of remembrance, I attended a luncheon back at the Five Dock RSL Club. I was honoured to be seated next to Colin Moir, who is a 100 years young WWII veteran who fought with the 36th Battalion on the Kokoda Track in 1942. We spoke at length about his time growing up in the local area, surrounded by many vegetable market gardens, to being one of the ‘Mice of Moresby’ on the Kokoda track in 1942. A truly memorable conversation.

Colin Moir, Len Russell CEO AVCAT

Colin Moir said, ‘Australia is worth fighting for as we are a great country, and we all are thankful for what we have in life.’

Honouring their service is the least we can do.

Not only on ANZAC Day but on every day.

Lest we forget.

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