Anzac Day Speech 2021
By Mia Powell and Charlotte Mettam
ANZAC day is a day of commemoration and thanks for the thousands of men and women who bravely signed up to protect our country and those who died for our freedom. This ANZAC day we come together to commemorate the men and women who have served our nation in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. This year we also celebrate the centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force and recognise those hardworking men and women who still are serving in the Air Force today.
Australian military aviation began in 1914 shortly before the first World War, when the Australian Flying Corps at Point Cook admitted its first four pupils. By the end of World War One in 1918, the AFC had four squadrons in the field and four training squadrons in England. The following year it was disbanded and replaced by the Australian Air Corps, which in 1921 became the Royal Australian Air Force. This year is the Royal Australian Air Force’s centenary of its establishment. During the Second World War, RAAF personnel served around the world, from advanced training in Canada to some of World War Two’s most significant battles, like the Battle of the Atlantic, the bomber offensive against Germany, important victories in Papua New Guinea and playing key roles in Allied operations across Asia and the Pacific.
Since the early years of the 21st century, RAAF personnel have served in wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan, carrying out combat operations, maritime surveillance and reconnaissance and intelligent flights alongside the air forces of allied nations. Along with service through wars and conflicts, for more than seven decades RAAF personnel have been involved in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations spanning the globe, from Africa and the Middle East to Southeast Asia, East Timor, and the Pacific.
The Royal Australian Air Force has played a central role in Australian military operations for a century. Its personnel have served in every war and conflict that Australia has been involved in since 1921, but its traditions and history go back to the AFC and the airfield at Point Cook on the eve of the Great War. Today, ANZAC day also honours those who have served through recent conflicts, such as the Vietnam War, and on peacekeeping missions. This year we also the acknowledge the withdrawal of the remaining Australian soldiers in Afghanistan and will be welcoming them home to their families in September of this year.
ANZAC day reflects the diversity of modern military operations as young veterans connected by the experience of service join with veterans of earlier wars. Now a tradition of over a century old, ANZAC day has become Australia’s most important secular section. What form it will take in the future, how it is understood and whether it endures or fades away will be determined by the generations of Australians who are now playing their part in the ANZAC story.