I asked people to send me messages for tonight. I asked people to write about their motivations for participating in Aussie Heroes or to share their ANZAC Day memories.
I suppose I should go first. You may know the reasons I started Aussie Heroes but I hope you will bear with me if I explain it again for those that do not know.
Firstly I was ashamed at the way that our Vietnam Veterans were treated. I felt strongly that we could not let that happen again.
The next motivator for starting Aussie Heroes was being told about a wounded Aussie soldier that a friend of mine had briefly met in a rehabilitation hospital here in Sydney. My friend told me how our wounded Aussie Hero sat in his wheel chair with a beautiful red, white and blue quilt over his legs. He was given that quilt in the hospital in Germany by the Americans. I was immediately indebted to the Americans for being so generous but I was so ashamed and saddened that there was nothing for our Aussie Hero from his own country. These days when I tell that story I can also tell you that Aussie Hero now has an Aussie Hero Quilt of his own which I am told he uses all the time.
Not only that, but his wife has started to sew with us now because she has seen the value of what we are doing.
The final reason I started Aussie Heroes is because I felt that we, the Aussie public, needed to be able to say thank you to those that serve in our name.
So that is why I started to sew for our Aussie Heroes. And why do I continue after nearly two and a half years? That is so easy for me to answer.
Because I believe, without reservation, that we are doing the right thing, that it is important to let our troops, OUR AUSSIE SOLDIERS, SAILORS, AIRMEN and AIRWOMEN know that we are proud of them,
that we appreciate them
and that we are grateful for their service and sacrifice.
So now to what some of the others had to say.
“I have been sewing for Aussie Hero Quilts for the last 18 months and during that time have learnt a lot about the Defence Forces and the war in the Middle East. In particular I have learnt about the human face behind it all through the many emails I have received from those who are the owners of my laundry bags – thank you very much for those emails. I continue to sew for AHQ because of the motto ‘we care about the people – not the politics or the mission’. To have the opportunity to sew laundry bags, and contribute blocks for quilts for our defence personnel in the Middle East seems like we are all working together as one team. Thinking of you this Anzac Day as we all remember and honour those who fought and lost their lives not only at Gallipoli but in wars since then.”
Greetings to all our deployed personal. On Anzac Day we remember those who gave their lives in service of their country. Also on Anzac Day, and every other day of the year, we honour the servicemen and servicewomen who give up time with their family and the freedoms of everyday life to deploy in service to their country. Every Aussie Hero quilt and laundry bag is an expression of this respect and gratitude, and our hope is that seeing them in use day after day will be a daily reminder of this for the recipients and everyone around them. We hope that every one of our deployed personal is able to stand with their mates, as their family today, knowing they are appreciated by so many back home. God bless you all on Anzac Day and every day.
I love going into the city here in Melbourne to watch the ANZAC Day parade along St Kilda Road. I usually get all emotional when I think of what the people in the march have done and been through – mainly what they have done to keep us here living a free life.
The best day, for me as a Kiwi, was when a group of Kiwi ex-military marched past, there were a lot of Maori personnel and they were singing The Maori Battalion song – that brought me to instant tears!!! I felt super proud watching the ex-service people and their families going by.
The best local experience of ANZAC Day for me was one time my parents were visiting here from NZ. My Dad had served in WW2 as a trainer, he was not allowed to go overseas as he had flat feet and varicose veins. Twice he took another mans place and tried to embark on a ship, but both times the officer watching the men boarding knew Dad and told him to go back to where he should be or he would be court martialled.
After the war Dad applied to the RSL in NZ but was not allowed to join as he had not served overseas. He always said he did his best with training to keep men alive when they went away to war. He was deeply offended that he couldn’t join and march with his friends who did go overseas and who were lucky enough to return home. So when he was visiting here, we went to the local ANZAC Day march as my husband and sons were in the Scouts and they went to march, so Dad asked the march organiser if he would be allowed to march, he explained the situation, he was told there was no problem he was welcome to join in. It was the only ANZAC Day march he ever participated in and was so proud! I was so proud!
So on ANZAC Day I think of my Dad, my Dad’s brother and several of his good friends who went to all parts of the world to keep us safe – I think of the currently serving people who are away from their families, still doing what they do to keep us safe and to keep our country free. And I send out many thoughts of thanks.
“Hi just a message from Penrith NSW. We thank you for the service and protection you provide not only here in Australia but worldwide. Your selfless service and dedication is very much appreciated. Stay safe and well. Thank you again from Keryn M”
Dear brave soldiers, sailors and airmen,
We can’t thank you enough for your dedication in serving your country.
Please know that we are behind you in your efforts and that you are all heroes to us.
We pray for your safe return home to a grateful nation.
With respect and appreciation from the Doyle family.
My Dad was a WW2 Veteran, he fought in Borneo.
I grew up in a large country town in NSW, and as a child, Anzac Day was a big deal.
Mum and I would watch Dad march every year, standing on the same street corner, across the road from the War Memorial.
Years on, I took my children to watch Grandpa march, not as many old diggers now though.
My Dad never missed marching on Anzac Day. If Mum and he happened to be on holiday, he would at least attend Dawn Service wherever he may be.
He will not be marching this year, he passed away in January, two months short of his 90thBirthday.
My nephew, as the oldest Grandson (Dad had only daughters), will march in his honour.
The family is going home to inter his ashes in the RSL Remembrance Wall.
This will be one Anzac Day I will never forget.
And this is perhaps my favourite message of the night.
It seems so typically Australian!
My Father, Arthur Charles (Charlie) Jasper was WWII Navy. At Cessation, Dad re-upped. As a result, Dad was in the Fleet that went up into the Islands to bring the POWs home.
The short fellows were assigned to stretcher bearing, the tall ones, like Dad were assigned to helping the allegedly mobile up the gangway. Dad had the POW on his left with the man’s right arm around his neck and Dad’s left arm around his upper torso.
Going up the gangway, the POW suddenly and rapidly dropped to the gangway. Dad, in his best Petty Officer voice roared: DON’T YOU DIE ON ME NOW YOU BASTARD! ! ! ! ! I’M HELPING YOU GET HOME ! ! ! ! !
The POW started to laugh and the laughs got deeper and richer and deeper and richer. Dad was trying to lift the man but it was like trying to pick up a jellyfish. It didn’t take long and rude versions of “Hurry up Charlie” came from behind. They were holding everyone up. Finally, Dad scooped the man up in both arms like a sleeping toddler and walked him to the Medics on the top deck.
About Dad’s third run later, the Medics asked Dad what he had said to the earlier POW. Dad said he hadn’t meant to upset him and asked if he was alright. The Medics said “He’s still laughing.”
The story finally came out. The POW thought that what was happening was too good to be true and was frightened he was going to wake up and find himself back in the camp. However, when Dad bellowed at him like he did, the POW knew he really was in Australian hands, he really was going home.
Dad never learnt the POW’s name and probably the POW never learnt Dad’s name but there was a bond between the two. Whenever the story came up every few years, as family stories do, Dad always spoke affectionately about his POW mate.
I’m sure the POW never forgot such a dinky-di welcome home.
Told by Yvonne Jasper, daughter of PO (later CPO) A.C. Jasper 243924