Australian Defence Force personnel deployed on operations across the Middle East commemorated Remembrance Day with their coalition partners.
Operations across the region were paused on November 11 to honour the millions who fought and died during World War I, including 60,000 Australians who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Speaking at the multinational service near Camp Baird, Commander JTF633 Major General Susan Coyle said the bonds and sacrifice of those who served more than a century ago still resonated with service personnel today.
“Despite the fact that all our original Anzacs have now passed away, the strength of the friendships they forged during adversity can be seen today in the current members of the ADF,” Major General Coyle said.
“I would argue the concept that what our forefathers and Anzacs suffered allows us to share our freedoms has grown even stronger over the years, as the men and women who currently protect our nations continue to run to the sound of the guns in selfless service.
“Which, as a veteran, truly warms my heart.”
Despite the impact of COVID-19, ADF personnel across operations Accordion, Okra, Manitou, Aslan, Charter, Paladin and Mazurka, came together to lay wreaths and reflect.
Personnel embedded with Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Headquarters Combined Maritime Forces paid their respects at British-led services.
Members of Task Group Afghanistan joined other coalition representatives at Headquarters Resolute Support for a minute’s silence.
In Cyprus, Australian peacekeepers attended an earlier ceremony at Wayne’s Keep Cemetery, Nicosia, on November 8, while members of the United Nations Mission South Sudan took part in a service held at the British Embassy in Juba.
The Australian contingent with the Multinational Force Observers was involved in a socially distanced Canadian-led parade, while members of the United Nations’ Interim Force in Lebanon and Disengagement Observer Force missions made personal contemplations.
Despite the passage of time, the significance of Remembrance Day had not been lost, with many observing the commemoration for the first time on operations.
Navy Leading Seaman Dan Williams said his deployment had reinforced his appreciation of the sacrifices made by those who served in World War I.
“I don’t acknowledge Remembrance Day because I have to; I acknowledge it because I can’t forget the impact made by so many so long ago that still affects us,” he said.
“Being on operations this year for Remembrance Day gives me a greater appreciation of what it would have been like during World War I, without having the luxury of links to home we have today.
“Lest we forget.”
Army Corporal Mia Alameddine said the deployment – her first – had helped her gain a new perspective on the relevance of her own legacy of service.
“Being deployed on Operations in the Middle East region gives me the opportunity to reflect on what the soldiers from World War I, and those serving since, have faced,” Corporal Alameddine said.
“It is with enormous gratitude and pride that I am able to follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before me, and be part of that history."
Air Force Corporal Sheree Woodward is also on her first deployment.
She said her time away from Australia had helped her appreciate the importance of Remembrance Day.
“I am honoured and proud to be serving my country during Remembrance Day,” Corporal Woodward said.
“My time spent in the Middle East has only broadened my current knowledge of what those who gave their lives may have experienced.
“I am truly grateful for their sacrifice and I will continue to promote and remember their legacy.”