Address at Wreath Laying Service Aboard HMAS Adelaide, Darwin
Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007
Release Date: 18/02/2001
Release Type: Speech
Transcript ID: 12318
There is nothing more sacred in the collective national life of our nation than to pay homage and to express gratitude to those who died defending Australia and those who died defending the cause of liberty and the cause of freedom. There is of course no hierarchy of sacrifice. All Australians who died anywhere in the world defending our country and defending what we stand for, to them we owe an equal and unlimited debt of gratitude.
Today we honour in particular those young men of USS Peary and those other sons of the United States who sacrificed their lives to defend Australia and to give us the freedom that we now enjoy. There is as the Ambassador said a very deep relationship between our two countries. We have fought together side by side since the days of World War I in pursuit of the values and the ideals that we hold in common. And hundreds of thousands of Americans died defending the cause of liberty. And here today in Darwin we commemorate that terrible day 59 years ago that brought home to the home front in Australia all the impact and the devastation of attack from an enemy that seemed to be all conquering. It was a moment of terrible truth for the Australian population. It confronted us with the realities of the invasion of our own country. And there side by side defending us were the young men of the United States.
And as we honour them and we thank them and we pay respect to them we also honour the deep friendship between our two nations. We also express our gratitude for all that the United States has done in the years that have passed since World War II with their great power and strength to defend the cause of Liberty and the cause of democracy around the world.
There are few nations in the world that can say that they have been continuously democratic and free through the entirety of the 20th century. The United States and Australia are two of those nations. We have shared much together because we believe in much together. And today we honour those brave men of the USS Peary and I particularly welcome to Australia those two wonderful - Mr Duke and Mr Widick - those two wonderful veterans from the United States. And the sparkle of your contributions and the feeling that you expressed for your long departed comrades was very deeply moving. Long may the relationship between our two countries remain close. We owe it to those who died defending our country 59 years ago. We owe it to all who died together in the defence of the values that we hold so dearly.