“Our war memorials not only remind us of the fallen soldiers, but also of those who returned and lived out their lives as hard working Australians who married, built new families and modern Australia.” As the guest speaker at the Parkes Shire commemoration of Anzac Day, Rear Admiral Michael Uzzell, AM, RAN continued his address saying the returning soldiers were from a generation that knew the horrors of war.
He told the stories of Tom Uren, an Australian Imperial Force veteran who died in 2015 aged 93, and Gavin Campbell who survived the sinking of the Australian cruiser HMAS Perth in 1942. Tom Uren, who survived the Thai Burma railway as a prisoner-of-war, was taken to Japan where he worked in a mine smelting lead and copper alongside Japanese workers. “There he learned that he hated militarism not the Japanese people.” He became an advocate for peaceful co-existence, and later in life often quoted Martin Luther King’s statement that: “Hate distorts the personality and scars the soul. It is more injurious to the hater than the hated.”
Gavin Campbell, survived many battles and action during his time of service, including three years as a prisoner-of war. Admiral Uzzell said like Tom Uren, Gavin was a man who did not hate. “He had seen so much violence and killing – so much of man’s inhumanity to man – that he would not be party to its continuation. We are all in their debt. Their legacy to us is our life long liberty.”