OP ASTUTE ANZAC Day
25 April 2012
Nearly 500 candles cast a soft light in the pre-dawn East Timorese darkness as Australian and New Zealand members of the International Stabilisation Force (ISF), together with invited international guests and expatriates, commemorated ANZAC Day at the ISF’s HPOD (Helicopter Point Of Departure) in Dili.
The Cenotaph was a simple wooden affair, in front of four flagpoles flying the Turkish, New Zealand, Australian and East Timorese flags, and guarded by a true ANZAC Catafalque party comprising two Australian and two New Zealand soldiers.
After a moving recorded tribute to the original ANZACs and the Australian and New Zealanders who have died in service of their country since 1990, the Deputy Commander International Stabilisation Force (DCISF), Royal New Zealand Navy Commander Andrew Nuttall, introduced Australian Senator, the Honourable Gary Humphries, to deliver the Requiescat.
This, a prayer for the repose of the dead, remembered those who did not return from conflicts ranging from Gallipoli to Afghanistan and Timor-Leste, and ended with the statement: “May these soldiers all rest proudly in the knowledge of their achievement and may we, and our successors prove worthy of their sacrifice.”
The ANZAC Day address was delivered by His Excellency, the Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Mr Miles Armitage. The Ambassador reflected on the sacrifices of the Timorese who helped the Australian and Allies 70 years ago in the Second World War and observed that this ANZAC Day was probably the last to be commemorated by an ANZAC deployment in East Timor.
New Zealand’s Ambassador to Timor-Leste, His Excellency Mr Tony Fautua led the assembly in the Reading.
The International Stabilisation Force operates with a number of agencies, and the depth of the relationship was reflected in the wreath laying ceremony. Amongst the many wreaths laid were those from the Australian and New Zealand Governments, the people of Timor-Leste, the United Nations, the F-FDTL (East Timorese Defence Force), New Zealand Police Force, Australian Federal Police, and the people of Turkey.
As the sun rose above the low clouds, illuminating the rugged hills behind Dili and sparking a noisy chorus of welcome from the many thousands of roosters which call the capital home, the Turkish Police Commander in East Timor, Superintendent Akif Mudur read Kemal Ataturk’s immortal poem written to comfort the mothers whose sons died at Gallipoli.
ANZAC Day 2012, in Dili, East Timor, was commemorated by ANZACs in the only ANZAC deployment in the world at this moment. The service was perhaps best represented by the Ode, in English and Maori.
“We will remember them – Ka maumahara tonu tatou ki a ratou”
Defence Media Operations 02 6127 1999