News / Community / 28th April 2022
What is the ANZAC spirit?
“What is the ANZAC spirit?” asked Vietnam veteran, Don Harrod, during his ANZAC Day address in Coonabarabran on Monday, 25 April.
“ANZAC is not one person or deed,” Mr Harrod said.
‘It is love and pride for Australia. It is about mateship. It is about working together no matter how difficult the task. It is about suffering personal sacrifices. It is about suffering hardships to achieve the goal. ANZAC is a living legend, forged by our ancestors to ensure we have a safe life in our country.”
Mr Harrod, who served in Vietnam from 1969- 1970 with the Fifth Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, was guest speaker at Coonabarabran’s 11am service, where a large crowd gathered to pay their respects to all those service men and women who have served Australia in the armed forces.
Mr Harrod outlined the many hardships endured by Australian Defence Force personnel.
“Our seamen were virtually unprotected whilst defending our shores,” he said.
“Our soldiers suffered extreme conditions - deserts, jungles, snow, heat, cold, malaria, hard rations and poor equipment.
“Our airmen were exposed to extreme danger in the skies.
“Until the Vietnam War ended, our service personnel had very few communications. In many areas there were no telephones, electricity, running water; mail from home was scarce. ‘Home’ was a leaky, four-man tent left over from the Second World War. Most of the time, however, was in jungle situations, lying on a wet groundsheet and sharing the area with leeches, scorpions, snakes and monkeys.
“How did the Australian Digger handle these hardships?
“Quite simply - they worked together.
“In many cases they were larrikins... they loved a beer and a gamble, but, more than anything else - they were together. Nobody was ever left on their own.
“One Digger would clean the rifles whilst his mate opened the cans of rations and attempted to make a meal. They took turns in keeping watch at night and if one was finding things difficult, others would share the load.
“We often ask, ‘Where did these Diggers come from?’ They came from all over our country. Our neighbours in Gilgandra formed the ‘Cooee’ March, in which they walked from Gilgandra to Sydney to enlist, and coerced others along the way to join in.
“Many put their ages up in order to enlist. This meant that many young servicemen were not much over 15 years.
“Womenfolk stayed at home, making clothing and other defence items for those overseas; and many, of course, took over running the family farm.
“That is the ANZAC tradition,” Mr Harrod said.
“There is so much of character that can be learnt from the ANZAC legend that will help you in your journey of life.
“Be it school or work, always plan ahead. The ANZACs did.
“If the task seems too hard, think of another way. The ANZACs did.
“If nothing goes right, keep smiling. The ANZACs did.
“Never scorn faith or hope. The ANZACs respected such values.
“If friends are down in the dumps, cheer them up. The ANZACs did.
“Remember, be ever so proud of your nation and its history.
“Lest We Forget.”