National Servicemen's Remembrance Day Ceremony
Representing the Premier and Leader of the Opposition, Ms Jennifer Howard MP and Mr Stephen Bennett MP;
Representing the Lord Mayor, Patron of the National Servicemen’s Association of Queensland, Councillor Owen,
State President, Mr Alex Garlin;
Representatives of the Australian Defence Force and Police,
Distinguished Guests, Former National Servicemen, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure and honour to join you today for National Servicemen’s Remembrance Day 2018.
Many Australians of a certain age remember vividly the time in the 1960s and 1970s when over 60,000 young Australian men were selected by ballot to serve in the Army.
Fewer will be aware that National Service was also in force in the 1950s. Nearly 230,000 National Servicemen were trained for service in all branches of the armed forces during that earlier time.
This Association, of course, acts on behalf of all National Servicemen, whenever they served.
As we here all know, National Service in the 1960s created controversy, mostly because of its link with the Vietnam War.
But it is incumbent on us to look beyond controversy and acknowledge, thank and pay tribute to National Servicemen who served in Australia’s Army, Navy and Air Force in the two decades from 1951.
That involved nearly 300,000 young Australians, or about eight times the capacity of the ‘Gabba’. It represents a highly significant contribution to Australia’s armed forces, and to Australia.
As one who served in the CMF in late 1960s and early 1970s, as Governor, and on behalf of all Queenslanders, I offer my heartfelt thanks to all Australia’s National Servicemen for the loyalty, honour and distinction with which they served their country.
I join you in remembering, with pride and sadness, the more than 200 who gave their lives, and those who returned home wounded in body or spirit.
I celebrate the marvellous comradeship that being a ‘Nasho’ has forged among you.
I wholeheartedly thank and honour the Association – in particular the Queensland Branch – for its vital work, begun by the late Barry Viccary in this State in 1987, in supporting ex-National Servicemen in so many admirable ways.
I take great satisfaction from the successes of the Association’s hard work – including the military awards now available to National Servicemen, the moving memorials in Toowoomba and in Canberra, and this marvellous Heritage Precinct.
And I take enormous pride in seeing the warm welcome that Queenslanders give National Servicemen, including Vietnam veterans, at our annual ANZAC Day Marches.
That is but one expression of the gratitude and admiration that the community owes National Servicemen.