Today Andrew X, who served as an electronics technician with the Royal Australian Navy for six years including time in the Persian Gulf, gave me his service medals and read out this very powerful peice of writing at the bottom of the front steps of the Victorian parliament in Spring St.
This is an astonishingly powerful cry from the heart. His act of trust in me makes these medals relinquished in deep deep despair into Medals of Honor.
Being accepted by him to receive his medals is one of the greatest compliments ever bestowed on me in 64 years of a culturally rich life.
I will do all I can to make his voice heard.
And to continue to strive to spread knowledge of the human rights lessons of World War Two.
The patrol torpedo boat PT-109 commanded by Lieutenant John F Kennedy sunk 78 years ago, on August 2nd 1943, after being rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri. This incident gave Kennedy lifelong back problems and a war hero status because of the bravery he showed to save his surviving crew. The disaster was also one of the foundations for his political career.
As I face the tremendous uncertainties of life in a society which is trashing the legacy of freedom from World War Two, JFK is one of the heroes whose legacy I cherish.
As he said, “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”