The freedom they defended is the vital freedom that so many now take for granted and do not appreciate, but it is the freedom that enables us to live our lives, enjoy our rights, and bathe in freedom of speech and ideas. The same freedom that many would take from us, both adversaries outside our country and self-interested control-centred people and groups within our country.
My own tribute is to dedicate a blog, as I have done in recent years, to both my grandfathers, who fought for the Australian Army in the World Wars, defending those freedoms.
My paternal grandfather was Gordon Reginald Patterson and he went to the Western Front in 1917. He turned 18 six days before he enlisted. Private Patterson then joined the Australian Army Infantry in the trenches in northern France and Belgium for all the horrors that entailed. He came back to Australia in 1919. He died when my father was only 6 years old. His photo is below, and I can see my father in his face.
My maternal grandfather was George Harwood Smith and he went to the second World War in 1941, as a 39 year old. He served with the Australian Army Motor Transport in Indonesia. When the Allied forces in Java surrendered to the Japanese in 1942, Private Smith went into the infamous Japanese POW camp at Changi in Singapore, where he remained a prisoner until the end of the war. Alas, I don't have any photos of Grandfather Smith in uniform (I am making enquiries to try and rectify this).
I can't begin to even imagine the horrors both my grandfathers endured. But I can be forever grateful for what we now enjoy, thanks to the sacrifice of them and millions of other Allied service personnel.
Rest in peace, my grandfathers, and thank you for your service and your sacrifice. I wish I could thank you both in person. Lest we forget.