ANZAC Day is a moment in time when Australia “celebrates” the best of us. I always struggle to describe this day.
Is it a day that we commemorate such significant loss of life for such a young nation? Or is it a day that we remember all the subsequent losses in subsequent conflicts across the globe? Or is it a day where we celebrate our resilience and the birth of our Australian values; of a fair go and mateship?
Can it be all of the above?
Being the Lord Mayor of the only Australian Capital City to be actively attacked by the enemy in 1942-1943, I believe that Darwin has always demonstrated and celebrated our resilience.
I love the fact that we can come together as a community and celebrate our past service and our continuing allegiances. On ANZAC Day I get to do both.
Yesterday, it was my pleasure to catch up with Jack Hamilton (pictured above) who has been our Legacy front man for so many years.
We caught up at Salvatore’s Café where I was helping with the give-away of free coffee, water and Anzac biscuits to anyone wearing medals or in uniform. A lovely gesture initiated by Sean at Salvatore’s Café as a way to thank and honour service to our country, both past and present. Anyone else passing by was also welcome to grab a coffee for a donation to Legacy.
Legacy looks after the widows/widowers and children of Australian service people. Their work is invaluable and ongoing. A true example of the community looking after its own.
This year will be the 4th time representatives of the US Marines Rotational Force Darwin have marched in the ANZAC Day parade.
They were not there at Gallipoli, but they were here during the Bombing of Darwin. In fact, the USS Peary was bombed and sunk in Darwin Harbour on 19 Feb 1942 and is a recognised war grave.
The Chains of Office
ANZAC Day is also full of symbolism. In an act of respect I wear both the chains of office at the Dawn Service and the full Lord Mayoral robes and chains at the Parade.
The chains of office represent the responsibility of being the number one citizen of this great city. Every Mayor and Lord Mayor since the city was incorporated in 1957 has worn the chains.
Each link bears the name and length of service of the Mayors and Lord Mayors. Being gold plated metal they are incredibly heavy, but it is a matter of pride and respect that I don these symbols to participate in these ceremonies. It is also a poignant reminder of my father Alec Fong Lim, who also wore these chains.
Lest we forget