A Message from the Chief of Army - Anzac Day 2021
This Anzac Day, members of the Army past and present will gather at memorials across Australia to remember the fallen, the wounded and all those who served and continue to serve. These memorials, big and small, recognise the cost of war on individuals, families and the nation.
In 2021 we welcome the return of dawn services, marches and community gatherings denied by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. I encourage veterans and serving personnel to embrace the day and to remember the significant contribution of our Army and the sacrifices made over many years.
Since 1901, two million Australian men and women have proudly worn the Rising Sun badge and slouch hat of our Army. They have always defended Australia and stepped up in times of crisis. They have risked harm to themselves and been ready and willing to use lethal force to defend Australia’s interests – the core business of our Army.
Collectively, they reflect the best of who we are as a nation. Like you, remarkable people who chose to serve to make a difference to the lives of others. Our obligation, as today’s Army, is to build on this hard won legacy.
The Army’s contribution to operations in Afghanistan will soon end. This decision is in line with our allies and consistent with Government policy to focus on Australia’s region.
As we draw down, we recognise the two decades of steadfast contribution to coalition operations by the Australian Defence Force in Afghanistan. We also acknowledge our coalition and Afghan partners for their shared commitment and sacrifice.
The 21,000 Army men and women who served in Afghanistan represent one of the single largest cohorts of returned personnel commemorating Anzac Day this year. We particularly remember the 41 Australian Army personnel who lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan and many more who were wounded, some physically and others mentally.
While this marks the end of Army’s military commitment, Australia will continue to promote stability and development to help Afghanistan to preserve the gains they have made as a nation. Many of you contributed to these gains, and please be assured, the work you did is not tarnished by the alleged serious misconduct of a few.
To all our veterans, thank you for your service.
On Anzac Day we are especially grateful for the support of families who give so much. We also recognise the many communities across Australia who support our people before service, during service and as veterans.
We remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who bear physical and mental wounds from their service. As a nation and in our Army we support all efforts to better understand the complexities of life after service so that we can do all that we can to help our people in uniform and beyond.
Together, we think of and are thankful for our Navy and Air Force joint team mates, our long time ANZAC partners in New Zealand, as well as other partner nations and our emergency services and those organisations and communities with whom we share that enduring bond of commitment and sacrifice.
Anzac Day reminds us of our shared values and history.
As a member of the Australian Army, you share a proud legacy. Share your story knowing that you are continuing the long line of honourable service under our Rising Sun. Also, take time to reach out and support each other, to talk to mates and families of our fallen. Be respectful, be supportive, and be inspired. Be confident that you are well supported and respected by your fellow Australians.
Like all Australians, I am proud of you and grateful for the contribution and sacrifices you continue to make in serving our Army, the Australian Defence Force and our nation.
Lest we forget.
LTGEN Rick Burr
Chief of Army