At the going down of the sun...
I crouched in a shallow trench on that hell of exposed beaches... steeply rising foothills bare of cover... a landscape pockmarked with war’s inevitable litter... piles of stores... equipment... ammunition... and the weird contortions of death sculptured in Australian flesh... I saw the going down of the sun on that first ANZAC Day... the chaotic maelstrom of Australia’s blooding.
I fought in the frozen mud of the Somme... in a blazing destroyer exploding on the North Sea... I fought on the perimeter at Tobruk... crashed in the flaming wreckage of a fighter in New Guinea... lived with the damned in the place cursed with the name Changi.
I was your mate... the kid across the street... the med. student at graduation... the mechanic in the corner garage... the baker who brought you bread... the gardener who cut your lawn... the clerk who sent your phone bill.
I was an Army private... a Naval commander... an Air Force bombardier. no man knows me... no name marks my tomb, for I am every Australian serviceman... I am the Unknown Soldier.
I died for a cause I held just in the service of my land... that you and yours may say in freedom... I am proud to be an Australian.
(This 60 cm x 90 cm framed message, a poignant tribute to the Australian serviceman, hangs in the offices of the Queensland State Headquarters of the RSL.)
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them. *
Lest we forget.
* For the Fallen, a poem by the English poet and writer Laurence Binyon. This verse, which became the Ode for the Returned and Services League, has been used in association with commemoration services in Australia since 1921.