Anzac Day 2024

Published on Tuesday, 30 April 2024 at 11:16:13 AM

"There's no way to sugar coat it, war is brutal". Lieutenant-Colonel Reece Young told the crowd at the Nedlands War Memorial. 

"How can a normal person be exposed to war and not be affected?" The father of four served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, East Timor, Pakistan, Lebanon, Israel, Gaza, and the Sinai before receiving a medical discharge due to post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). 

On Thursday he read three graphic and atmospheric accounts from Gallipoli, one of which described a man being hit in the femoral artery and bleeding out in the boat as they landed. 

He said "shell shock" was a World War I statistic that was "not just overlooked but horribly under-reported". "These soldiers have been martyred too", he said.

He said courage, mateship and honour were often considered true warrior traits, "but when we are confronted with trembling wrecks and men bawling like little children, we turn away." Shell shock is now recognised as PTSD. 

Lt Col Young said he always enjoyed Anzac Day and considered it similar to a wake, remembering mates he had known and lost.

"There's a churning hole in your heart that will never be refilled", he told the crowd. 

After saying that, he was overcome with emotion and unable to continue his speech.


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