Listen: Dr Brendan Nelson in conversation with Stephen O’Doherty.
At the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month in 1918 the guns of World War One (1914-1918), the ‘War to end all wars’ fell silent.
Between 1914 and 1918 a young Australian nation sent 414,000 Australians who voluntarily enlisted to serve, fight and die in the First World War. Almost 330,000 were sent overseas to face the horrors of modern industrialised war.
By 1918, almost 62,000 Australian lay dead among the blood, mud, and destruction of the trenches in Europe, the sands of Sinai, Palestine and Syria.
Our new nation
The ‘Great War’ would be the first major undertaking by our newly federated nation, one that would change forever change us and our place in the world. Brendan Nelson gave a moving speech at the National Press Club expanding on impact of the war, ‘We’re all Australians now: 1918 and the War that changed us.’
Honouring the spirit
Remembrance Day 2018 marks the centenary of the end of the First World War. The Australian War Memorial has invited Australians from across the country to come to Canberra and help us remember and honour the spirit of those who served our nation and those who continue to do so. That ‘spirit’ includes families who suffered much and made extraordinary sacrifices.
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Made up who we are
Director of the Australian War Memorial Dr Brendan Nelson says the individual sacrifice of these men and women and those who loved them, their devotion and duty to our country, is what gave us what we have and made us who we are.
“The 62,000 hand-crafted poppies that now sweep across the grounds of this sacred place are woven repositories of love and ennobled memory. Every single one of those men and women, who gave their lives for us, and their last moments to one another, is lovingly represented here.” he says
“This place reminds us of the truths by which we live. Not the building, artefacts, or relics displayed, but the stories of the men and women who stand behind them,” says Dr Nelson.
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