Since our Inception, The Australian Community has held a commemoration for the Ten Australians who perished on September 11, 2001.
On September 17, 2016 we commemorated these fallen Australians with a historic flag raising ceremony at Bowling Green in NYC.
Bowling Green has featured in local history ever since the Dutch first settled “New Amsterdam” in the early 1600’s. It was also the site where George Washington first raised the Stars and Stripes to mark the end of British occupation after the War of Independence.
September 17, 2016 will now be recorded in history as the first time the Australian flag was raised at Bowling Green. It was done so to commemorate the Ten Australians who perished at the site of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
The day’s program consisted of Australians Lucy Campbell and Mandy Bishop singing Advance Australia Fair and The Star Spangled Banner, followed by Georgia Kate Haege with a reading of My Country.
After the saying of The Ode, the Australian flag was raised by ten flag bearers, to represent the Australians who each lost their lives on that tragic day:
True Blue was performed by Ben McHugh to close out the ceremony.
As is the tradition, there was a short march to Beckett’s on Stone Street where members mixed, shared their New York experiences, and made new friends.
Given the cultural and historical significance of the occasion, The Australian Community will host a flag raising ceremony each year on the third Saturday of September at noon to commemorate these Ten Australians.
Below is a copy of the eulogy that was given for the Ten Australians:
On November 11, 1993 The Hon. P.J. Keating MP, delivered a eulogy for the Unknown Australian Soldier that is regarded as amongst the most memorable speeches ever given by an Australian Prime Minister.
In it he spoke to the ANZAC legend: “A legend of free and independent spirits whose discipline derived less from military formalities and customs, than from the bonds of mateship and the demands of necessity.”
Today we gather together as a community to honor that same ANZAC tradition by commemorating the Ten Australians who perished on September 11, 2001 just a few hundred meters from where we stand.
We honor these Ten Australians through the raising of our National Flag and reflecting on what it truly means to be an Australian.
However, unlike the Unknown Soldier;
We know these Ten Australians’ names and we always will.
We know where they were born, and precisely how and when they died.
We know where they had made their homes.
We know their age and their circumstances – whether they were from the city or the bush; their occupation; what religion, if they had a religion; if they were married or single.
We know whom they loved and who loved them.
If they had children we know who they are.
They are not lost to us, nor are they lost to their families.
We will always remember who these Australians were.
Unlike the Unknown Australian Soldier whose anonymity shields us from the circumstances of his death, all of us witnessed the terror these Australians experienced in their final moments.
For those who still find it too painful to watch the images of that fateful day, we are yet compelled by the same bonds of mateship and the demands of necessity to remember these fallen Australians in a tradition that has continued for more than a century.
In doing so we set aside our personal challenges, and remind ourselves of the core values of being an Australian.
Borrowing also from the words of M. Kemal Ataturk speaking to the families of the Johnnies who perished on the shores of Gallipoli in 1915:
They are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Wipe away your tears, they are at peace.