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Remarks at Opening Ceremony for Avenue of Honour: speech, Yungaburra, Queensland



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Remarks at Opening Ceremony for Avenue of Honour, Yungaburra, Queensland June 22, 2013

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Prime Minister, General Hurley, parliamentary colleagues, families of the fallen, ladies and gentlemen.

It is an honour to be a part of this bittersweet, proud and solemn occasion, in this place of beauty as befits a place of remembrance.

The difference between members of our armed forces and everyone else is that they have put their lives on the line for our country.

As someone who has never worn our country’s uniform, I salute all those who have.

All who wear our country’s uniform have volunteered to take risks for the rest of us that the rest of us have never had to face.

As Dr Johnson once observed "every man doth despise himself for never having been a soldier."

It is even worse, if I may say so, for politicians. We feel humbled, even a little embarrassed, in the presence of those whom we have ordered

into battle when we have faced no such dangers ourselves.

Our only justification can be absolute necessity for the protection of our nation and our absolute duty is unstinting, ceaseless support for those whom we put in harm’s way.

Part of that support is honouring the fallen which we do today.

Thirty-nine men cut down in their prime.

Not lives wasted, but lives spent, fully spent, to the last drop of blood in the service of our country.

We are placed on this earth to do good and there is no higher good than to live and, if needs be, to die in the service of our country.

After all, greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friend. And they died in the company of their mates, doing what they loved.

I say to the families of the fallen, in whose hearts mingle grief and pride, you will never forget. We must never forget.

I pledge never lightly to be part of a Parliament that commits our soldiers to combat; always to respect the work our armed forces have done

and never to traduce the values they uphold.

Our hope, always, is that no more soldiers will die.

Our determination, always, is to do what is needed to keep our country safe.

Lest we forget.

[ends]

© Tony Abbott MHR 2010 | Authorised by Tony Abbott MHR, Level 2, 17 Sydney Rd, Manly NSW 2095

www.tonyabbott.com.au

Tony Abbott Federal Member for Warringah | Leader of the Opposition

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