Remembrance Day honours Indigenous soldiers

Remembrance Day honours Indigenous soldiers

Remembrance Day is a time to pay tribute to the military sacrifice of servicemen and women.

This year, Indigenous soldiers are receiving particular recognition, with the first national war memorial dedicated to Indigenous soldiers unveiled in Adelaide yesterday.


Today, services have been held around Australia to remember those who died or suffered in war.


Ron Sutton reports.


Two new names have been added to the Roll of Honour commemorating Australia's fallen soldiers in a Remembrance Day ceremony at Canberra's National War Memorial.


Victoria Cross and Medal for Gallantry recipient Corporal Ben Robert-Smith recited the names as they were unveiled.


"Corporal Scott James Smith, Special Operations Engineer Regiment, 21st October 2012, age 24. Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird, Second Commando Regiment, 22nd June 2013, age 32."


This year, Remembrance Day marks the 95th anniversary of the end of the first World War.


Across the country, ceremonies have paid tribute to soldiers who have represented Australia, with a special focus on Indigenous soldiers.


Senator Simon Birmingham, representing Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the unveiling of the first national war memorial for Indigenous soldiers, says they have long made brave contributions.


"Even when our nation did not appropriately recognise their service, they exemplified the courage, endurance, sacrifice and mateship that lie at the heart of the ANZAC spirit."


At the Indigenous war memorial, in Adelaide, Aboriginal Vietnam War veteran Frank Clarke read the Ode of Remembrance.


"They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them. Lest we forget."


In Canberra, former prime minister Paul Keating says the ANZAC legend continues to inspire a sense of identity amongst young Australians.


World War Two veteran Stuart Marriner, (mariner) of the Rats of Tobruk, has told SBS Radio's French program, when he reflects on the war, he remembers the moments that highlight the ANZAC spirit.


"What I remember most about the war is my old mates, you know. And it's a strange thing, I don't remember the bad times much. What I remember most, and I've found this with others, is the funny things that happened."


Next year marks the centenary of the beginning of World War One.


In commemoration, Australians and New Zealanders will be able to access a shared archive of World War One records online.



Summary by Rachelle Alchin


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