Reserve Forces Day Recognition Ceremony 2023
Representing the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Councillor Vicki Howard; representing the Queensland Police Service Commissioner, Acting Assistant Commissioner Tod Reid; Reserve Forces Day Committee Chairman, Captain Bob Hume RFD RAN (Retd); Parade Commander, Major Ian Leabeater (Retd); Chaplain, Squadron Leader Bob Heathwood (Retd); the 9th Battalion of The Royal Queensland Regiment; National Servicemen’s Pipes and Drums; Cadets; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by also acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here today.
Graeme and I are proud to be with you all this morning, on Reserve Forces Day, to honour the immense contribution past and present Reserve Force personnel have made to keep our country safe and free.
As we gather at this sacred memorial, we consider the Reservists who have sustained injuries in the line of duty, and remember those who have sadly lost their lives.
And we also recognise the significant impact Reservists have had on our nation’s defense capabilities, and on the success of our humanitarian missions—working shoulder to shoulder with members of our permanent Army, Navy and Air Force in times of conflict, and in times of peace, to restore stability and uphold the values of the ANZAC legacy.
Since Federation, over 1.25 million Australians have undertaken part-time roles in the armed forces, demonstrating outstanding loyalty and professionalism, whether they are deployed overseas, or at home assisting with natural disasters, and keeping our borders secure.
While the name and nature of this citizen force have both changed over the years, the valuable skills, knowledge and perspective Reservists share from their civilian experiences have broadened and strengthened our military system.
Reservists bring with them not only an ardent sense of dedication and commitment, but a willingness to be flexible, to respond to a short-notice call for duty, or to be involved in an enduring pattern of service, when and as required, even while they may be juggling a busy home and work life.
I speak here from some experience, as Graeme, alongside his demanding career in medicine, was also a long-serving member of the Army Reserves—spending 17 years in the Active Reserves, and 17 in the Standby Reserves, and reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His younger brother is still a member of the Australian Air Force Reserves, having served with the RAAF for 45 years.
Despite challenges wrought by day-to-day life, I know that Reservists are prepared to fight for the principles our country holds dear, with a profound generosity of spirit, driven by the desire to help others.
Yet, as we honour and commend those who serve, we must also acknowledge the support received from partners, families, friends and employers, who understand so well the role and its unique responsibilities, and who are prepared to take on additional duties themselves, in order to see this devotion to service fulfilled.
This morning’s ceremony is an important tradition—an annual opportunity for us to publically reflect on the efforts of ordinary people, who are prepared to do extraordinary things in service to their country.
As Governor of this State, I thank the men and women in our Reserve Forces—past and present—for serving with steadfast fidelity, and with exceptional courage.
Lest We Forget.