Sample speeches for Anzac Day and Remembrance Day

 

Use these speeches as a starting point for your own commemoration. We encourage local communities to research a veteran from their local area and to highlight their service in the speech.

Simple speech for Anzac Day

This speech would be suitable for a commemorative address for small ceremonies at primary schools, aged care facilities and other local community settings.

Read time 1 minute 25 seconds

We stand here this morning on (local details _____________) land. We acknowledge the traditional owners and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay respect to the Elders, past, present and emerging. Today, along with Australians everywhere, we gather to remember those who have served to defend Australia. We do this because it is the anniversary of the day when Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed on the beach at Gallipoli in Turkey on 25 April 1915. This was the first major military campaign for soldiers from Australia and New Zealand. Since then, 25 April has been known as Anzac Day. ‘Anzac' comes from the name Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. It was shortened to ANZAC in 1915. Since then, when Australians and New Zealanders have served together, they have often been known as Anzacs. At Gallipoli, Australians and New Zealanders served with soldiers from other nations, including England, France and India. The Australians at Gallipoli came from all sorts of backgrounds, but they shared the terrible experience of war. Ever since then, for more than a hundred years, the men and women in our navy, army and air force have honoured the memory of our original Anzacs. On Anzac Day, there are many ways to honour people who have served, and those who continue to serve, in Australia's armed forces. We can gather together like this, attend a dawn service or an Anzac Day march. We can also wear a sprig of rosemary as a symbol of remembrance. Towards the end of the ceremony, the Last Post will be played on a bugle. This historical music was played in army camps to announce the end of the day, a time when soldiers should be resting. The Last Post is played today for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. It means that they have done their duty and are now at rest. After the Last Post, there will be one minute of silence. This is a time to think about those who have served in Australia's armed forces, those who continue to serve, and about those who have lost their lives.

You can download this speech as part of our Anzac Day Kitbag.

Detailed speech for Anzac Day

This speech would be suitable for a commemorative address for public events at secondary schools, local war memorials and other community settings.

Read time 1 minute 30 seconds

We stand here this morning on (local details _____________) land. We acknowledge the traditional owners and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay respect to the Elders, past, present and emerging. Before dawn on 25 April 1915, the first soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the shores of the Gallipoli peninsula. The men were part of a British and French led invasion. The Allies' mission was to destroy Turkish guns that were preventing naval ships from reaching and bombarding the Turkish capital, Constantinople. If they succeeded, Turkey might be forced out of the war and Germany would lose an important ally. Some 2000 Australians were killed or wounded on 25 April. It was a day of confusion and fear. One soldier called it ‘a day of sorrow' as he remembered the dead and wounded. At Anzac Cove, the Australians were the first to land. The New Zealanders followed later in the day. They advanced about a mile in some places, less in others, but they could go no further. For the next eight months, the campaign was a stalemate. In December, the Anzacs were evacuated. By then, about 8700 Australians and almost 2700 New Zealanders had been killed. They were some of at least 130,000 soldiers on both sides who lost their lives at Gallipoli. Anzac Day has been one of the most important dates on Australia's calendar since 1916. At first, it gave people a chance to honour the original Anzacs – the Australians and New Zealanders who fought on Gallipoli. Then it became a day for those who had served in the First World War. With Australians experiencing the Second World War, and wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations that have followed, Anzac Day has become an occasion to honour all who have worn our country's uniform in service. Today, we reflect on that service. We recognise more than a hundred thousand Australian service men and women who have lost their lives in military operations carried out in our country's name. We honour the values that have been invested in the original Anzacs – loyalty, selflessness, courage – and the ways in which later generations have measured their own achievements against those of the soldiers who fought on Gallipoli.

You can download this speech as part of our Anzac Day Kitbag.

Simple speech for Remembrance Day

Read time 1 minute 30 seconds

We stand here this morning on (local details ____ ) land. We acknowledge the traditional owners and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay respect to the Elders, past, present and emerging. The First World War was in its time the most destructive conflict yet experienced by humanity. When it began in August 1914, few imagined the course that it would take, or foresaw its terrible toll. From a population of just under 5 million, more than 400,000 Australians enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force – the AIF, the force that Australia sent to the war – and more than 330,000 served overseas. For most this meant Gallipoli, the Middle East or the war's main theatre: the Western Front in France and Belgium. More than 60,000 Australians lost their lives, a devastating toll for a small country. Yet they were a relative few. Around the world some 10 million military personnel died in what was then called the Great War. Families and communities everywhere were affected by the enormous loss. When an armistice ended the fighting on 11 November 1918, celebrations in the victorious nations were tempered by grief and sorrow. In Britain and the countries of her empire, the day's anniversary became known as Armistice Day. In 1919 and in every year since at 11 am on 11 November, people have paused to remember the dead. So great had been the loss of life, so devastating had been the destruction, that people hoped, even imagined, that the Great War would be the last war, ‘the war to end war'. But it was not to be. Two decades after the First World War ended, the world was plunged into a second global conflict. No longer could Armistice Day remain a day only to remember the dead of the First World War. After the Second World War ended in 1945, 11 November became known as Remembrance Day. The day's sombre associations have never changed. When we pause at 11 am on 11 November, we reflect on the price that Australia and countries around the world have paid through more than a century of war and conflict that followed the First World War.

You can download this speech as part of our Remembrance Day Kitbag.

Detailed speech for Remembrance Day

This speech would be suitable for a commemorative address for public events at secondary schools, local war memorials and other community settings.

Read time 1 minute 30 seconds

We stand here this morning on (local details ____ ) land. We acknowledge the traditional owners and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay respect to the Elders, past, present and emerging. The First World War ended more than a century ago. The fighting stopped when an armistice between the Allied powers and Germany came into effect at 11 o'clock on the morning of 11 November 1918. Millions had lost their lives during the war, among them more than 60,000 Australian service personnel – about one in five of those who served overseas. Many thousands more were wounded in body or mind. During the war and after its end, survivors returned home to a country both grateful for their service and traumatised by the war's enormous cost. The dead lay in cemeteries and unmarked graves around the world; from New Britain in the south-west Pacific, to Mesopotamia, Gallipoli, the Sinai, Palestine and the United Kingdom. But nowhere on earth do Australia's war dead lie in greater numbers than in the soil of the Western Front in France and Belgium. The momentous announcement that the fighting was over on this front, and with it the war, was met with joyful celebrations around Australia. But joy was neither universal nor unqualified. Too many had died, too many more wounded or made ill by their war service. Everywhere communities knew the pain of losing fondly remembered men. Across the country, memorials were erected to honour those who served and to remember the dead.In 1919, Britain's King George V proclaimed 2 minutes of silence at 11 am on 11 November. At the appointed hour, people around Australia, many gathered before local memorials, paused together in common reflection, remembering the dead and beginning a tradition that has endured for more than a century. In time, Australia's war memorials would come to honour the fallen of the Second World War and of the many other conflicts and operations in which Australians have served. Today, the Australian War Memorial's Roll of Honour lists the names of more than 102,000 Australians who have lost their lives in war and conflict. As we pause on Remembrance Day, our thoughts turn to war's enormous cost and the toll it takes, not only on those who fall but on all who serve.

You can download this speech as part of our Remembrance Day Kitbag.

Ideas for local content

You might like to include a story of a veteran from your community who served Australia during a global conflict or peacekeeping mission. When talking about them, you could mention:

  • their links to your community
  • career before enlistment
  • service branch (navy, army, air force)
  • dates of service
  • age at enlistment
  • where they served overseas
  • whether they received any medals for bravery
  • whether they survived the conflict

You can look for the war service records of someone born in your town, or who enlisted in the forces there. You might find a name on an honour roll in your school or town hall, or on a local cenotaph or memorial.

Follow our handy guide to researching Australian wartime service.


Last updated: 28 September 2021

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2021), Sample speeches for Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 23 October 2021, https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/commemoration/event-planning/speeches
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