Premier Ted Baillieu’s ANZAC Day message.
On 25th April 1915 a group of young Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula, confronted by steep cliffs, hostile guns and the unknown.
It was the start of a gruelling campaign that saw gallantry, courage, bloodshed and sacrifice.
And it marked a coming of age for two very young nations, who sent their young men across the globe to fight – many sadly never to return.
97 years on, none of the men who fought that war remain.
But their commitment to their nation has become symbolic of Australian values: mateship, common purpose and standing up for the principles we all share.
Those are the qualities we honour when we think of Anzac Cove almost a century ago.
And they are also the qualities we remember when we think of what followed in so many of the theatres of war where Australians fought.
We think of the devastating battles on the Western Front.
And then World War Two: the air battles, the European campaigns, the jungle warfare in the Pacific and Burma.
We think of the Solomon Islands, Timor, the conflicts in Europe and the Middle East, PNG and Kokoda and this year in particular, we remember the Fall of Singapore.
And the campaigns that followed: Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, the two Gulf Wars and Afghanistan.
And we think of our Defence Force men and women peace-keeping in many other trouble spots, where they continue to work for freedom and democracy today.
It is 97 years since Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
But as the years pass, something remarkable has occurred – our commemoration of ANZAC Day has grown stronger and stronger.
Now this is not a celebration of war, but a steady recognition of what is an essential ingredient of what has made the Australia of today: the quiet legend of the ANZAC.
When we pause on ANZAC Day, in the cool still of the dawn, we hear the sounds of the Ode, the bugle, and the gentle draw of the flag being lowered and raised, and at that moment, Australians are as one.
It is an emotional feeling.
And it is a sense of gratitude for all we enjoy today: the freedom, the tolerance, the stability of our system of government and the rule of law.
All might be so different without the commitment and legacy of our fighting men and women.
Like many Victorians, on 25th of April, I think about members of my own family and the thousands of members of other families who have contributed to that vital part of Australia’s history.
Truly on ANZAC Day, we commemorate and honour the Legacy of the Brave.
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