"As We Stand Here Together, Awaiting The Dawn"

Wing Commander Sharon Bown, author of One Woman’s War and Peace: A nurse’s journey in the Royal Australian Air Force

“As we stand here together, awaiting the dawn, the shadow of night tenderly cloaks each of us in a comforting sanctuary of darkness.

In the early hours before the dawn, we are drawn from our private homes to gather here as a community of ordinary strangers, united by the actions of extraordinary strangers who fought for their country; their mates; and their lives, 99 years ago upon the shores of Gallipoli.

They were the soldiers of Australia and New Zealand.
They were the ANZACs.

The darkness before the dawn clutches us.  We are unable to see that which lies beyond the light; unable to perceive that which may bring us harm.  Our security, once delivered by extraordinary strangers of yesterday, remains safely entrusted and protected by the extraordinary strangers of today: the men and women of the Australian Defence Force; men and women who will give their all to defend you and to ensure that you may forever gather here within the comfort of their ever watchful shadow.

As the ANZACs approached the shores of Gallipoli in the early hours before the dawn, the shadow of darkness may have shielded their presence from the enemy, yet in turn, it also shielded from them, the treacherous peril that lay in wait. From the ANZACs to Afghanistan, the shadow of night which offered protection equally exposed their vulnerability.”

Extract from the address given by Wing Commander Sharon Bown, author of One Woman’s War and Peace, before the Anzac Day Dawn Service, 2014

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