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Remembering our ANZACs
A message from myself and Chief Officer Euan Ferguson
Tomorrow we will remember, honour and reflect on the service and sacrifice Australian men and women made for our nation. The 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli will be one of the most significant commemorations we will see in our lifetime. We should never forget the horrors, unimaginable, that they confronted for the freedom we have today.
Australia’s defence is intimately tied to volunteers and to the ethos of volunteering. There exists a deep cultural connection between the motivations of volunteers to the first Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and volunteer fire and emergency services. Between 1914 and 1918, 147 Country Fire Brigades Board volunteers were killed in action and a further 191 were wounded. Volunteering was one of the characteristics of all our diggers – and it continues to be part of the spirit of Australia.
We at CFA, as an emergency and volunteer-based service, are proud of this connection.
In recent weeks many of you have been sharing your stories and personal connections to the First World War. We have heard countless anecdotes of courage, strength and selfless bravery shown by those who served at Gallipoli 100 years ago. These stories have highlighted the true spirit of the ANZACs – shown by both former CFA members, and the relatives of current CFA members. Thank you to all of you who contributed. You can read some of these stories here.
To mark the centenary, CFA also commissioned a plaque to commemorate past and present CFA members who have served. This plaque has been presented to a Cannakale Group brigade in Turkey by one of our own members, Jim Kelly of Belgrave Heights & South Brigade, who is attending the dawn and Lone Pine services at Gallipoli. Thank you Jim for representing us at the site.
Tomorrow, as we reflect on the courage and strength shown by all those who served, we must also recognise the professionalism, courage and selfless bravery of those still serving today. Romantic as war may appear, we must never forget the dreadful cost, in the dead, the wounded and the mental anguish, of both the combatants and their loved ones.
Our purpose is not to glorify or promote war. We are here to commemorate the memories of those who served for our peace and freedom – in all wars. We hope that in the future we remember the lessons of the past.
May they all rest in peace.
Michael Wootten Euan Ferguson
CEO Chief Officer