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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Page: 4305

Ms GAMBARO (Brisbane) (13:57): It was a great honour for me to lay a wreath of the ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea on Saturday, 5 May in Newstead Park in the Brisbane electorate. The battle between allied and Japanese naval and air forces was fought between 4 May and 8 May 1942 in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland. The allied victory stopped the Japanese from taking Port Moresby and threatening Australia. No Australians lost their lives in the battle but 543 Americans and 1,074 Japanese were killed or wounded.

I find these events very moving because they remind me of the sacrifice that so many people made so that we can enjoy the freedom that we do today. For me, one of the most touching aspects of the ceremony was meeting some of the five survivors of the USS Lexington. Harry Frey, Jerry Frey, Kay Burton, Cecil Wisell and Ruth Grizzell were all lucky to survive an attack on the Lexington. 'It is great to see so many people gathered together in honour of the men and women who fought during the Battle of the Coral Sea,' said Frey. US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano read a letter from US President Barack Obama that said:

We will never forget their sacrifice and we will always honour the legacy of those who fought to keep us free.

It was a very memorable occasion for all of us who were there. (Time expired)