OPINION: Thank you to Those who Served Our Nation Valiantly in Afghanistan

41 killed.

249 wounded.

39,000 who served

These are the statistics relating to the Australian Defence Force from the war in

Afghanistan that we can and should never forget.

It’s easy to forgive ourselves for being swept up in everything COVID-19 related right

now.

There is no doubt that our lives have changed forever since the virus landed on our

shores.

It’s difficult being house-bound, not being able to have a sit down meal at a restaurant

or catch up face-to-face with friends and family.

But spare a thought for those Australians who served in Afghanistan.

They signed up for a mission on the other side of the world to help free a nation full of

people they had never met.

This wasn’t a nation that were housebound due to a pandemic, this was a nation that

were held captive by group whose sole mission was to control its people with medieval

and often brutal tactics, and act as a breeding ground for extremists willing to terrorise

the West, to which we were not immune.

For many Afghans, they weren’t concerned about not being able order a meal at a

restaurant – they were just concerned about how to put food on the table for their family.

They weren’t concerned about when they would catch up with their group of friends next

– they just wanted to know that their friends and family were alive and safe.

For nearly twenty years, women and girls have been able to go to school, get a job and

play sport - these basic things that so many of us take for granted will probably no

longer be possible.

For the 39,000 ADF members who served in Afghanistan, the mission was simple.

They just wanted to help the people of Afghanistan, to establish democracy, to help

build their nation. They wanted to help secure safety for not only Afghanistan but also

the world.

In order to do that they left their family and loved ones on the other side of the world for

months – sometimes years – at a time.

They sacrificed their own wellbeing and safety for their mission and for the people of

Afghanistan.

It is this selflessness and bravery that typifies our ADF personnel.

As we watch with great sadness at the images currently on our TV screens, we should

never forget the contributions of the 39,000 who served, 249 who were wounded and 41

who were killed.

Lest we forget.

*Greg is former member of the Australian Regular Army and a veteran*

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No matter the circumstances, as a nation on this day we will come together to remember the sacrifices that were made for our nations freedom