Moving Speech by Warrant Officer Class 2 Ray Pascoe at College Anzac Service

The 2017 ANZAC Day Assembly was held on Monday 24 April, and the college were very fortunate to welcome the participation of the 7 CSR Gallipoli Barracks for the Catafalque Party.  

We also welcomed our guest speaker Warrant Officer Class 2 Ray Pascoe from 16th Brigade Gallipoli Barracks and special guest Mr Dean Crust, Gaythorne RSL Board Member. 

Such strong support and participation from both the RSL and Gallipoli Barracks made our Assembly very special.  A number of staff and students commented on the service and said they were particularly moved by the speech delivered by Warrant Officer Class 2 Ray Pascoe.   Thank you to Warrant Officer 2 Ray Pascoe for taking the time to write a speech that was so relevant to our students.  

Thank you to all staff and students for their participation in this special ANZAC Assembly, your care and support are appreciated.

Sally Lawler, Defence Transition Mentor

ANZAC DAY Speech delivered by Warrant Officer Class 2 – Ray Pascoe

Good Morning, to the Principal, Mr Glenn McConville, Distinguished Guests, Veterans, ladies and gentlemen, staff and students of Mt Maria College.

It is a privilege to come to your school today and speak to you. As it’s a great honour to be able to pass on the significance of ANZAC Day to you all.

On this 102nd anniversary of the landing of the ANZAC’s at Gallipoli. Like hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens, who gather at memorials in cities, towns and schools across Australia and overseas, we have come here to commemorate one of the most significant events of the year.

It has often been said that Australia came of age in the early morning of 25th April 1915, some 14 years after Federation. That may be true and perhaps that is why we hold this day in such high regard in our national calendar.

The ANZAC force on 25 April 1915, set out at about 3.30am from the fleet of ships anchored off the Gallipoli Peninsula, on a night so dark, that not even the shoreline was visible. They had landed at dawn miles off course at a place now called ‘ANZAC Cove’, The Australians and the New Zealanders were faced with devastating artillery and machine gun fire from the ridgeline above and by the end of that first day 2,000 men lay dead. By the end of the Gallipoli campaign the ANZAC’s had lost 10,000 troops.

But of course it is just not Gallipoli we remember on this day, nor the First World War. This is a day set aside for us to collectively give thanks to all those men and women who have put their lives at risk and in many cases paid the supreme price.

What does the ANZAC spirit mean?

I believe, it is a short word for a number of qualities which all of us, not just men and women serving in the Navy, Army and Air Force, can use in our everyday lives.

The ANZAC spirit represents a sense of purpose and direction. The original ANZAC’s knew what they had to do; they knew of the dangers and the difficulties but did not let those difficulties stop them from obeying their orders. But the soldiers did what they had to do until their leaders decided it was time to leave. You to can apply this to your everyday life. You know what work you have to do at school and what tasks your parents may have set you to do about the house. No matter what difficulties you think are in the way, think of the ANZAC’s and others who have followed them and push the difficulties to one side and accomplish your tasks.

Secondly, the ANZAC spirit represents an acceptance of responsibility. This is another quality you can apply in your everyday lives. Take responsibility for everything you do. It is easy to say ‘I did that’ or ‘that’s my work’ when everything goes right. We all know that sometimes things do not always go right. Sometimes you do something that is against the wishes of your parents and teachers. Remember the ANZAC spirit and take responsibility for what you are doing.

The ANZAC spirit also includes a sense of compassion. This has been summed up in the Australian experience as mateship. This means to watch out for your mate, help him or her at all times and don’t poke fun at other people at school, because they may have had some misfortune, or come from a different part of the world.

So these three very simple things are what we mean when we talk about the ANZAC spirit.

I have talked about – a sense of purpose; acceptance of responsibility and mateship…… not only while you are at school, but whatever you do in your lives. If you do this you will be keeping the faith with those who put the word ANZAC into our language and you will be helping to make sure that the ANZAC spirit is always a part of life in Australia.

What they did was to offer their very existence when they were told that their country needed them. I say their country, but in many cases, particularly in that First World War, they were doing so for a country that was not theirs by birth or even citizenship, for many of them had been born overseas.

ANZAC day is a day for all Australians, regardless of religion, racial background or even place of birth. It is a day to commemorate the bravery and self-sacrifice of past and present generations. It is a day to acknowledge the selflessness of all those who have been prepared to lay down their lives for Australia so that it can be a place of freedom for all. On this ANZAC day we thank and recognise those who served in the first and second world wars, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, Cambodia, Somalia, Rwanda and more recently, the Persian Gulf, Solomon Islands, TimorLeste, Iraq and Afghanistan. Australia still has men and women serving their country on Active duty and peacekeeping operations in many countries abroad.

To that end, if you see a veteran marching or walking down the street with their medals swaying in the wind, stop them and say THANK YOU for the service they have given to their country.

We also acknowledge the significant scarifies for families and friends by supporting our servicemen and women while away on duty. Not to mention all the extra work to be done, looking after children and keeping everything going at home. This too is part of the ANZAC spirit and the dedication of those who support our servicemen and women must also be remembered as this is not conveyed enough to our loved ones.

Now, the ANZAC spirit exists in each and everyone of us, so therefore, let us be guided by the ANZAC spirit in facing the national and personal challenges ahead, and let us strive to be worthy of the memory of those we honour on ANZAC Day. Again, let me thank you for your time and the honour of speaking here today.

We will remember them.

Lest We Forget!

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