#ThanksForServ­ing HON­OUR OUR DIG­GERS

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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