Tom Gibson and Oliver Harvey- School Captains
Every April 25, since 1916, Australians and New Zealanders have been gathering together, like us today, to remember the men and women who have served our country in the military.
In today’s Anzac Assembly, we will not be celebrating – but remembering and perhaps learning from the great tragedy of WAR. Some say that War is altogether useless, should never ever be entered into… never should we fight – Ever. Others say there is a time we should fight… say to protect or defend. People fall on both sides of this argument- you all will have your own views.
Courage, loyalty, compassion, mateship, endurance – the ANZAC spirit is something that lives on long after the battles are fought. Whether it is helping on a national scale in communities after a natural disaster, supporting people at risk of homelessness or racial abuse, or providing a hand up to those affected by a tragedy, loneliness or hardship or on a more local level where we support those who need help with their homework, to fit in, to make friends - every Australian, young or old, can uphold the spirit of the ANZACs. So let us honour our soldiers in the best way possible by remembering the sacrifices they’ve made and embodying the ANZAC spirit in everything that we do. Let us be a voice for those suffering injustice or hardship. Let us transform our school and perhaps even make some steps towards change in our community and our country.
If we are to live in a world where there is equality and peace, where everyone has a chance to have a fair go and where we leave the world a better place when we leave it- then us all need to live by these values- we need to not only appreciate them- but actually actively embrace them
The ANZAC spirit exists in each of us- we are capable of being brave, putting out a hand to others and giving up our selfish desires for a more equal world- so therefore let us be guided by the ANZAC spirit in facing the national and personal challenges ahead of us, and let us strive to be worthy of the sacrifices made for us.
LEST WE FORGET
Trinity - Boy soldiers
During the First World War, the Australian Army's enlistment age was 21 years or 18 years with the permission of a parent. Although boys aged 14-17 could enlist as musicians, many gave false ages in order to join as soldiers. Their numbers are impossible to determine. Enlistment of boys was normal practice for the Navy and several died on service during the First World War.
Private James Charles ('Jim') Martin is the best known boy soldier. He is believed to be the youngest soldier on the Roll of Honour. He was born on 3 January 1901. Keen for all things military, Jim joined the cadets at school and the year after leaving school he took up work as a farm hand.
In 1915, Martin was eager to enlist with the Australian Imperial Force. His father had previously been rejected from service and Jim, the only male child of his family, was keen to serve in place of his father. Anyone under the age of 21 required written parental permission when Jim threatened to run away, join under another name and not to write to her if he succeeded in being deployed, his mother reluctantly gave her written permission for him to enlist. Jim succeeded in enlisting at the age of 14 years and 3 months.
In June 2015 Jim and his Unit were deployed to Gallipoli. Their transport ship was torpedoed en route by a German submarine and Jim and several others spent hours in the water before being rescued.
Jim eventually landed on Gallipoli in the early hours of the 7th September. In the following few months’ casualties from enemy action were slight, but the front-line work, short rations, sickness, flies, lice, and mosquitoes took their toll on the unit. Jim sent several letters to his parents from Gallipoli. In late October he contracted typhoid fever and was evacuated to a hospital ship. By this time he had lost half his weight and was in a bad state. Despite the best efforts of the medical staff aboard, Jim died of heart failure just under two hours later. He was three months short of his 15th birthday. Jim was buried at sea and is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial on Gallipoli. While he may not have been the youngest Australian to serve during the First World War, Jim Martin is considered the youngest to have died on active service. He was 14 years 9 months old when he died at Gallipoli. Those of you who turn 15 this year or who are older take a moment to reflect on this.
Thankfully, most young Australians today are spared exposure to military conflict. But that doesn’t mean we should forget those who continue to serve their country or forget the sacrifices made by earlier generations. These men and women helped make Australia the great place it is today.
Anzac Day gives us time to reflect on what really makes our country special. Like it or not, much of the character of the Australian nation – mateship and sacrifice, resourcefulness and devotion, pride in our country and ourselves, even our cheeky larrikin spirit – was forged in a war no soldier ever wanted. Although these young boys are long gone- the spirit and resolve they demonstrated has many lessons for us today.
Many of you and other young people across Australia may be asking yourselves -Is the spirit of the ANZACs still important to us today?
Do you ask yourself why we bother to gather each year when the war was over decades ago?
While it may be harder for us to relate to the experiences of the war veterans and to know their names and battles they fought, every Australian can embody the qualities of those young boys, like Jim, who CHOSE to go to war. Anzac Day is a day to remember the strength of the human spirit. Because of our soldiers we know that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things. It is inspirational and humbling for all of us to remember this.
But ANZAC Day is not merely a date, or some remote campaign fought against insurmountable odds, but rather a spirit. Something that was special and important and continues to echo to us more than 100 years later. It is a time when each of us is asked to reflect on the qualities of those who have served our country in uniform.
To be an ANZAC was to show the human qualities of courage, mateship and sacrifice, all qualities that continue to have meaning for each of us today. I would like to introduce Sophie, Lauren and Phoebe to reflect on those qualities and the reasons why we gather each year to give thanks and to reflect on our contributions to our school, community, country and the global world.
Sophie McQuie - What is Courage?
The ability to do something that frightens one; bravery. Strength in the face of pain or grief. Courage is one of the greatest qualities displayed by the ANZACs. This won them admiration from both their allies and their enemies. At the battle of Beersheba, the Germans never believed that they would charge against an entrenched army with machine guns and artillery. The ANZAC men went where others feared to tread. They sent fear into the hearts of their opponents because of their reckless courage, earning them nicknames as ‘madmen’ and ‘devils on horseback’. Even at Gallipoli, they fought bravely and kept fighting even unto death. There are countless examples of one man, grossly outnumbered, taking on the enemy and winning because of his sheer audacity and fearlessness.
Courage is not only a physical quality but also a moral one... Courage is being willing to stand one’s ground for what is right, even when you are in the minority. It does not fear man or fear consequences. It is willing to swim against the tide and be mocked, ridiculed and persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
We desperately need a new generation of Anzacs who will stand to change what is wrong in our world now- to stand up for those who are marginalised, to take on those who are damaging our people and our environment, to have the courage to see a way to be better global citizens and to then take action to make change happen
Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.
Courage- the ANZACs had it- do you?
Lauren Sexton- Mateship
Every year, on this day, we ask ourselves that one fundamental question: Why did they fight? And why do we still fight? Is it about glory? Is it about nation-building? Is it about making one's mark? Or is it about something more?
What emerged from those terrible battlefields was a moral code that rapidly established itself as a national virtue - a combination of bravery, resilience, the ability to improvise, and sticking together in hard times no matter what. Looking after your mates.
Since our earliest days as a nation, mateship has had a powerful hold on the Australian psyche. It's our national story, a story about being there for others when they need help, no matter where they are, or who they are. It's about defending anyone's right to pursue their own small patch of equality.
As Aussies we recognise that individual achievement rarely occurs without a helping hand from others. We value independence in a community minded way. Despite our differences we all know that when adversity strikes, whether in the form of bushfires, floods or international conflict, there’ll be a fellow Aussie to help out. It’s the tradition of the digger, the character of mateship and it’s still the essence of the Australian spirit- but What does this mean to us today? What does it suggest you and I should do?
Stand up for each other, support each other, and work on joining rather than dividing our society? Being there – in the tough times and the good times- being reliable as a friend and as a citizen? Rejecting the nastiness of social media, stepping in when help is needed on an individual or community level and embracing the notion of a fair go for all? The soldiers only survived because they could rely on mateship.
Can your friends rely on you?
Can your community rely on you?
What are you prepared to stand up and support?
Who will you help- there are many even within this school who would value the gift of mateship. - Let us all continue to strive to embody this spirit.
Phoebe Baker- Sacrifice
What does this mean? To me it means giving up something I value for the sake of someone else’s benefit.
The sobering reality for everyone on ANZAC Day comes when we pause to remember every soldier, airman or sailor who lost their life defending Australia. It’s also a time to pause and think about those who are currently serving our country across the world. When you pause to remember those heroes who braved the gunfire that fateful morning in Gallipoli, and every Australian soldier who has followed in their footsteps to defend our country, take a moment to reflect on the incredible sacrifice that has helped shape our country into the great place it is today.
Sacrifice is part of life- it is not something to regret, it should be something to aspire to. Our soldiers aspired to protecting their homeland, no matter what it took.
If we want to make the world a better place, we can do it. We just can’t do it all alone. We have to influence and cooperate with others to make a shift in the way the world works. This takes hard work, time, energy, attention and focus- and giving up some things- it takes sacrifice from almost ALL of us!
We need to sacrifice some of the immediate, short-term pleasure and gain in our personal lives if we want to work towards making things better for ourselves and everyone else. This means our individual wants, whims and desires have to often go second.
What are you prepared to sacrifice to make this a better world- we are not asking for your life, like our soldiers gave, but- a little effort, generosity, love, kindness , thoughtfulness.
It will require effort and a change for many of you- your individual focus may need to broaden to encompass others in your class, your school, your community or even the wider world. Are you prepared to sacrifice some of your time and energy to improve the world?
Sacrifice – lest we forget those who sacrificed their lives so we can enjoy our freedom today- and hopefully we are moved to remember a sacrifice you make in honour of another in your life someday.