#ThanksForServing HONOUR OUR DIGGERS
serving is really important,” said former Corporal Keighran, who earned our highest bravery award in a firefight in Afghanistan in 2010.
“For serving men and women and veterans, but also for their families, who can feel so isolated.”
Former Warrant Officer Class 2 Payne, who joined the army aged 18 in 1951 and served in Korea, Malaya and PNG before he was awarded the VC for his actions in Vietnam, said the importance of a “thankyou” cannot be underestimated.
“It is just important. So many soldiers come back from serving overseas suffering post-traumatic stress disorder. I did myself when I came back from Vietnam … I know they have a hard road ahead of them, and for them to know that people are behind them means a lot. Sometimes that’s all they need.”
While many Vietnam veterans were treated appallingly by a public opposed to Australia’s involvement in that war — accused of murder and worse — Keighran believes our attitudes have become far more discerning. “I have experienced it myself. Today people are more likely to say: ‘I may not agree with what the government is doing, but I acknowledge what you have been through’ — thanking you for your service,” he said.
Payne believes that is a point of difference between Australia and America, where veterans are celebrated across the board with a degree of fervour.
He believes a more heartfelt yet perhaps calmer “thank you” is a more authentically Aussie approach, which can be expressed at any time of year — not just Anzac Day and November 11, Remembrance Day. #ThanksForServing is encouraging all Australians to voice that acknowledgment in any way they feel comfortable: from using the hashtag on social media; using our online form to send a message at www.dailytelegraph.com; saying it in person to a veteran or their relatives; at public events; or starting by y taking a moment of quiet reflection.
It’s not just about those in uniform. As Keighran notes, it is crucial for families of those who are serving, have served; especially when en they have come back from service forever altered, or not come back at all.
That takes an extraordinary ary toll on spouses, partners, children en and wider family and is an issue e to be explored in Foxtel’s new drama Fighting Season.
“It’s important to know their eir sons and daughters are not forgotten,” ten,” he said. “A lot of Australians do not know what our current serving ng men and women do.
“They wouldn’t know unless something happened and was s in the news — a fatality or something hing — but there are Australians overseas, verseas, in the Middle East, in harm’s m’s way. It’s good to acknowledge that.” t.”
The role of relatives is a particular rticular focus for the charity Legacy, which is among organisations endorsing dorsing #ThanksForServing.
“As a returned serviceman, man, I understand first-hand the sacrifices acrifices made by serviceman and women, and we as a nation, must never ver forget,” Legacy chairman Rick Cranna, OAM said. “As a Legatee (volunteer), having cared for widows ws and their children for more than han 40 years, these sacrifices echo endlessly ndlessly within the family that remain. in. The sacrifices made by families are no less important and must not be overlooked. I encourage all Australians tralians to pay tribute to the service ce and sacrifice of veterans and d their families through the #ThanksFornksForServing campaign.”
The RSL is also backing king #ThanksForServing and wrappping it into a number of its s projects, from care packages to troops overseas, its forthcoming Veterans Film Festival and the ongoing Anzac c Bears To Schools drive.
“For more than a century, ry, Australian men and women en have served in uniform, putting their lives on the line, and many paying the ultimate price,” RSL national acting chairman John King, a 22-year full-time soldier, said.
“The simple act of saying: ‘Thanks for serving’ — of acknowledging the hardships they face and the impact on their families — can be extraordinarily powerful,” he said.
“It’s a small gesture with a big result.”
Veterans Affairs Minister Darren Chester has also thrown the government’s weight behind it: “It’s a simple phrase but it can mean a lot to those who are spending months away from loved ones and removed from the simple pleasures of Australian life. The Australian people can be proud of the outstanding work being done by our personnel and their families. They are remarkable individuals who have our support and respect,” he said.
Corporal DanielKeighran, VC, says Australians’ attitudes to those who’ve served has become morediscerning.