Grati-Tuesday of a different kind…

Written by AHQ

10 March 2015

Hi all
For some reason, and for the first time in ages we have only received one thank you message that I can share on the blog tonight.  We don’t seem to be hearing much from those who are deployed on Operation Okra and I suspect that is because of the hours they are working, and who knows what other reasons. They do not have the easiest of conditions over there.  The bottom line is that they have a job to do and so do we. Many of us say that we do not do what we do for the thanks and now is the time to prove that we mean that.  

I am constantly left in no doubt as how much the troops appreciate what we do and I thought it might be time I share some of the reasons we do what we do.  This week I am in Canberra.   I am meeting recipients (always a JOY), catching up with friends and talking to people but the main reason I am here this week specifically is to present a brief to members of Joint Logistics Command on Friday morning.  Part of the focus of my presentation is to provide feed back as to how this organisation perceives the Defence Force.  Not an easy one for me to answer alone so I called on those that sew for us to tell me what they thought.  
I know that this blog (and facebook page) is not only read by quilters, and those who contribute to Aussie Heroes, but is also read by serving members, loved ones of serving members, ex-serving members and others.   I received too many messages of feedback to include into my presentation on Friday but instead, will provide an overall response taken from all the messages I received.   BUT I think many of these messages are too special and too heartfelt NOT to share them with those of you who read this blog.  

This is not all the responses I received but a good selection.

The question I asked was “What is your perception of the Australian Defence Force?”

So here goes…..

I’m so proud and so thankful for the service of my fellow Australians.  Knowing they are expertly trained in all that they do to keep our borders and people safe is a great comfort to me and I am happy to support them any way I can.

Pleased that we have such personal out there doing their best to make it a safer Australia. and trying to do their best for the countries they are sent to, and in whatever capacity they are in. Pleased to do my little bit to make their space outside Australia more pleasant and colourful

I view our defence forces as a group of people with the best interests of Australia at their core. They represent the values of this country nationally and internationally as strong, giving and flexible. They do a difficult job in difficult circumstances.

I think that the men & women that join our Defence Force and serve overseas sacrifice a normal life. Even the personnel that don’t serve overseas do things that normal people would never do. They put their lives on the line to keep us safe, our values, country & lifestyle the way we have made it. The Defence Force is also a mystery that we, the general public will never know all about, unless you are part of it.

When I think of the men and women who risk their lives for us as a nation,  on a daily basis, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for their bravery, loyalty and discipline. I choose to think of them as people just like my own children, who deserve to be blessed and receive our kindness, so they can carry out their duties with their heads held high

We all KNOW there are service groups – Army – Air Force – Navy – Police – Fire Brigades, etc but unless we have personal involvement via a family member, or friend, we tend to accept they are ‘just there’ to be called on when needed.  My activities with AHQ gives me the opportunity to be totally aware of the people who make up these vital organisations. Their work and commitment becomes even more real and enormously humbling. The best we can do is to acknowledge and thank them ………………….and AHQ allows me an avenue to do just that.

PRIDE is the first thing that comes to mind.  Proud of the way these young Australians represent our country  while wearing their uniforms.  Many of them have never been overseas before, never been away from loved ones,family and friends. They are asked to  work extra long hours in  often inhospitable  environments along side peoples they can hardly communicate  with, let alone completely  trust. Yet they don’t complain, just grin and bear it and get on with the job.  Many back home in Australia  would want time out, better pay and working conditions.

So PRIDE and being very proud PROUD of our boys and girls in uniform is top of the list.

Of course we are immensely proud of the service of our deployed service people.  I know its part of their job, and what they are trained for, but the sacrifice made in terms of being away from home, family and friends in a dangerous and unpredictable environment, is indeed above admirable.  We will never know what they are going through and just hope that our efforts show our support for them while they are away and on their return.

Our Deployed Defence personnel…..our Sons and Daughters…..are the much needed Heroes that all Australians need right now.  They are a living, breathing lesson in Loyalty, Patriotism, Selflessness and Kindness and we should never, ever under-estimate the powerful role models they are for our youth. God bless them!

I guess I see our ADF personnel as people doing the job we don’t want. Being prepared to risk personal safety for our safety. (Sounds like emergency services too). Often young and adventurous, they are enjoying the thrill of the ride, uncertain of what is ahead.  I believe they learn to be brave and they don’t believe they are doing anything special, it is just their job. I think if they stopped long enough, they would feel lonely & forgotten. We are making sure that doesn’t happen. Our quilts & LB do make a difference. 

The ADF is an absolute essential service that keeps our nation protected and safe. It helps in aiding the United Nations in building up peace in our troubled world. Our government and the Australian public need to be constantly aware of what we are asking of our service people.

I have no personal contact with any of the ADF but I feel they are our unsung heroes, and, unfairly, they sometimes cop the fallout of some unpopular moves by our political leaders.
Most people would not think very much about them from day to day but when push comes to shove those same people would expect them to be there to defend and protect. 

I am biased but I think our Defence force is full of amazing, dedicated and giving personnel who generously serve our country and deserve a great deal of appreciation from all Australians for what they do.  When I am able I love to sew for the  A.D.F.

I know these people have joined the various services as a way to help sort out the problem areas of our world.  I appreciate that they are willing to stand up for our beliefs, that we are still trying to come to terms with.  We would all like to live in a world of peace and harmony, but there are selfish people who only think of themselves, and their religions. 
Family and friends are very important, and to think that there are people who have NO REGARD for other people, their family & friends, is very frightening.
I am glad there are people to put their lives out there to bring comfort and help sort things out.  I’m happy to bring a little joy, belonging, belief, thankfulness, regard, friendship, to “family” far from home.

Here we have men and women who give their time, and lives, to keep us safe at home.  But their work is also about  freedom for all people to live their lives without fear,  not just us Aussies.  They have my heartfelt respect and support

I have not had anything to do with anyone in the forces. My son wanted to go in the army. Unfortunately he lost his life before joining.  I am amazed at the strength of the people protecting our country and the that of their families.
I want to give to them to say thankyou..

Quilting for AHQ is my way if saying Thank you for what they do, serving our country being away from family and friends, sometimes in not so nice a place with not great surroundings, a quilt or laundry bag is the least I can do.

The men and women serving overseas, are the most honorable, true heroes of Australia. They put their lives on the line, leaving their families behind in order to serve and protect Australia.

Our boys and girls put their lives on the line for our country – so very grateful to them and thoroughly enjoy making laundry bags and quilts for them. 
It is only a small thing we do just to let them know that they are in our thoughts 
Thanks guys you are greatly appreciated

My views on the defence force are that I am very proud of the service they give to this wonderful country, to keep it free and maintain the best country in the world.   They give up time with their families, that they’ll never get back, they sacrifice many things for their service and doing the quilts is my way of saying thank you.     I appreciate their service and acknowledge it by making quilts.  
Married to a Vietnam Veteran, that suffers from PTSD, I believe we must support these men and women and continue to assure them that their job is important to us and the country, they are appreciated and valued for their service.

ADF are our extended family that we rarely have a chance to meet.

I am in the process of making my first Aussie Hero quilt and am thrilled to do so.
I view our Deployed Defence personnel as very special people and feel privileged to be able to make a quilt for them.
It’s like making a special occasion quilt for a family member.

I view our ADF as my heroes! They make me feel safe. They are such brave & willing men & women to defend our country as they do.

I consider the ADF as a quiet achiever..  hear nothing until actioned.. i.e. be it fires, floods, natural disasters at home or overseas, peace keeping missions, combat, plus of course, keeping Australia/Australians safe.  They are not taken for granted but admired, respected and appreciated.  It’s like having plans A-Z in the cupboard as continual and trusted backup.

Through my involvement with AHQ, of more than 2 years now,  I view the Defence Forces as having a very important role in our national security and international peace keeping.  I have received many emails and letters from recipients of my laundry bags and I feel very privileged to see the human side of the individuals involved in the Defence Forces.  Together with the thank you messages posted on the blog we are seeing ordinary people doing extraordinary jobs under very testing conditions.    We are calling them heroes but they don’t see themselves as that.

Also through AHQ, I have gained an understanding of how serious and widespread PTSD is.  We hear that the quilts, laundry bags, small gifts and letters we send boost morale and I hope that in the longer term the quilts and laundry bags may help to reduce the debiliating side effects of PTSD.

With compassion, gratitude and sincere thanks for their sacrifice (being away from loved ones and home soil;  putting their physical and mental health on the line as they follow directives for Australia’s best interests and often that of the broader world).

I view them as true patriots as they protect Australian interests, but also as humanitarians as they protect those who are vulnerable and help those who need it.  Our deployed staff (APS and Defence members) serve our nation proudly, and are above politics.

Proud, honoured, thankful & concerned for their safe return. They are Aussies … extended family of sorts?

I see our deployed personnel as  courageous men and women willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Their families are brave too, because they make it okay for their men and women to serve Australia in peacetime and in war. 

Ok, really really honest answer…..
I forget they are there! I don’t know they are fighting for us! I forget to think about them! I go about my everyday life!
That’s why I joined Hero quilts, to keep me informed, and support them, and hopefully spread the word! …and to show them my thanks!

Before I joined your program I doubt I gave it a thought, even though my husband was in the regular army for over 10 years and his brother did 2 tours of Vietnam. I am of the conscription generation and so I could say I was ambivalent at best.
However recent events going as far as East Timor, 9-11 and others has brought the job these people do into the spotlight. Like our emergency service workers, they risk their lives to keep us safe. Not for accolades or “pay” but because this is the kind of people they are – protectors. And they do it away from their families!!!!! 
These people should be amongst the highest paid in our country – they deserve it. 
Since making the quilts and laundry bags, I consider all the recipients as “mine”. I am constantly sharing my experiences with family and friends and am often asked….
Where are you sending one off to now?
Have we got personnel in ?????
So I feel in my own way I am letting others know about the job these wonderful people do. 

What the Defence and and our deployed Public Service personnel mean to me.
We do not live in an ideal world, If we did there would not be a need for such service. but what they do in being out there, making a difference whilst being away from home and their own loved ones, making a difference in the world that we do live in is held in my esteem to be of the highest. 

Growing up after WWll, when the father’s of everyone at school had served overseas, I thought of the ADF as a military organisation used in wartime.  Now I’m aware of many other areas where their skills are used such as border protection, peacekeeping missions, humanitarian work and assisting after natural disasters. What would we do without them.

I see them as dedicated yet often unacknowledged men and women who are frequently used as political pawns. They make enormous sacrifices to protect our way of life.

Words….brave, selfless, patriotic, adventuresome,  believers in freedom and democracy, ‘ordinary’ people who feel the need to protect others unable to protect themselves

There are a few messages that I may have missed as it is late and I am tired but also a couple that I have deliberately left out because the words are so powerful I don’t want to share them here till I have shared them on Friday.  

And just to end….. we need at least one photo so here is one to think on – this is one of our poppy quilts. This quilt has gone to the family of one of our heroes who was killed in action.  

May he rest in peace.
We who are not in uniform have much to be thankful and much to show our appreciation for.

Till next time………………keep spreading the word….

Jan-Maree xx

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1 Comment

  1. Sue Niven

    Heartfelt thanks to all those wonderful men and women who serve. Thanks for this wonderful post. I echo every single thought.


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