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Freedom torch tribute allows all Australians to take symbolic part in VP Day ceremony on August 15



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MEDIA RELEASET he H on C on S ciacca MP M i n is t e r for V e t e r a n s ' A ffa ir s FREEDOM TORCH TRIBUTE ALLOWS ALL AUSTRALIANS TO TAKE SYMBOLIC PART IN VP DAY NATIONAL CEREMONY ON AUGUST 15.

Individuals, families, schools and communities across Australia are being urged to join in the spirit of the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and commission the journey of an "Australian Remembers Freedom Torch"

from their local community to take part in the VP Day National Ceremony in Brisbane on August 15.

The Minister who has portfolio responsibility for the Australia Remembers program, Con Sciacca, said that even though Australia would be alive and bubbling with VP Day commemorations and celebrations across the country on August 15 it was important that all Australians, no matter where they live, felt they had a stake in the National VP Day Ceremony in Brisbane.

He said that Brisbane was chosen for the national ceremony because of its strategic importance during the Second World War with both General Blarney and General Douglas MacArthur having their Australian war-time headquarters based there.

Mr Sciacca said the key word that had emerged during the Australia Remembers year was the word 'Freedom'; the 'Freedom' won 50 years ago; the 'Freedom' enjoyed today; and the 'Freedom' to be preserved for the future.

"It is this 'Freedom' that makes this country unique and makes us all proud to be Australian," he said.

"50 years ago an heroic generation of Australians won this 'Freedom' for us and now it is time for the protection of that 'Freedom' to be understood by, and entrusted to, a younger generation of Australians.

"The Australia Remembers Freedom Torches have become the symbol for this hard won and precious freedom and I urge all individual Australians, families, schools and communities from every comer of this great country to purchase a Freedom Torch, engrave their name with pride on the nameplate provided and

send it on it's journey to Brisbane to become an integral part of the official National VP Day Ceremony.

"At all the official ceremonies in Brisbane on August 15 I want thousands and thousands of Australia Remembers Freedom Torches as a backdrop to the commemorations and celebrations throughout that day so that every square inch of Australia is symbolically represented.

Mr Sciacca said the Australia Remembers Freedom Torches were a way for every Australian, no matter in which State or Territory they lived, or whether they lived in city, suburb, country town or on a sheep station, to say "thankyou" to this very special generation of 50 years ago.

"We want this concept to capture the imagination of all Australians so that a flood of Australia Remembers Freedom Torches make their way to Brisbane from all around Australia from local community groups, business groups, service groups, schools, ex-service associations, local Australia Remembers Committees, families, church groups, individuals, sporting clubs and anyone else who wants to say "thankyou" to a special generation of people who gave to us through sacrifice what we take for granted today.

"Every individual, family, school or group that send an Australia Remembers Freedom Torch to Brisbane will have their names proudly printed on a special scroll that will be entombed in the Australia Remembers Time Capsule which will rest in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens for the next 50 years to be opened in

2045 at the 100th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

"The Freedom Torches will be the centrepiece for the final VP night time ceremony on August 15 when hundreds of veterans carrying Australia Remembers Freedom Torches symbolically pass the freedom they won 50 years ago onto hundreds of young Australians from all States and Territories who

will pledge to protect the freedom that has been entrusted to them."

Mr Sciacca said that the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Jim Soorley, will display all Australia Remembers Freedom Torches with dignity and respect in the Brisbane City Hall as they arrive in Brisbane.

"All Australia Remembers Freedom Torches can be delivered by post or other creative and imaginative methods to Brisbane City Hall at any time between 1 June and 11 August," Mr Sciacca said, "and at the conclusion of the Australia Remembers year the Freedon Torches will be returned to the individuals and

communities from whence they sprang."

He said that an Australia Remembers Freedom Torch order form could be obtained by contacting Bladon Australia on (07) 356 8066 or fax on (07) 356 0312 or contacting your local DVA office.

For further information contact: Greg Rudd on (06) 277 7820 or 018 626663