Student voice: Anzac Centenary

The RSL and Schools Remember Anzac Commemorative Service on April 23 drew more than 1500 students from Catholic, public and independent schools across Sydney. Here three students present reflect on the ANZAC legacy.

Nichole Taaum aNichole Tauum, 14, Bethlehem College Ashfield:

“Australia was 13 years old and everyone had ancestry from different countries. The fact that they identified as Australians and were seen by the other nations as Australians showed, even then, that people of all cultures could be Australian.

“They made their mark on Anzac Cove. It defined our nation and what we relate to – the main ideals like mateship, the spirit and a bright outlook towards everything are kind of ingrained in us. They were around our age and did things that we would not have the courage, the strength or the ability to do. The most responsibility we have to take is probably catching the bus home from school and these kids were out fighting in the trenches in wars and selflessly sacrificing their lives for a young nation to make its name.”

Nathan Hedges aNathan Hedges, 17, Patrician Brothers College Fairfield:

“My grandfather fought with the United States Navy in the 1942 Battle of the Coral Sea. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him because he passed away when I was at a young age, but I know that in the battle his ship sank and he was in the water for nine hours. Although he was not part of the Australian military forces my family still understands the sacrifice that is relevant to Anzac Day.

“Being at the age I’m at now, one of the things that really sticks out for me is the sacrifice of someone so young. There were soldiers as young as I am now who were giving their lives for their country and though it’s a profound sacrifice it was just something you did. It was a willing sort of sacrifice for the future of the country.”

Ashlea Damato aAshlea Damato, 11, St Thomas More’s Catholic Primary Brighton Le Sands:

“They landed on the wrong beach but they were still strong, even though the enemy had the advantage because they were shooting down at them. Because it was a mountain they had to make flat land to pitch their tents. I feel very proud to be here and honour those men that have fallen. They were so brave, because their enemy had the advantage and they didn’t. They fought for freedom and they succeeded in that. Australia is a free country.”

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