Courage, Mateship, Sacrifice and Endurance

April 24, 2014
Steve Pratt

Walking through the dark streets, side by side with strangers, barely a whisper can be heard, just the sound of marching footsteps. With each person who joins the march there is a glance of recognition with a sombre smile to everyone who joins the annual pilgrimage to the memorial at Brighton Beach.

The dawn service is my small sacrifice to honour those who have fought and even died for our country. Over the years, I have seen this tribute grow bigger and bigger, young and old alike all remembering those everyday heroes.

This year is the third anniversary of one of the most amazing journeys of my life, the Kokoda Track.

With a group of people who are now some of my best mates, we marched for 8 days along the track, and got to live and breathe some of the amazing stories of courage and mateship, hardship and endurance that our diggers endured.

At Isurava there is the most beautiful memorial to our diggers; 4 granite pillars each with an inscription; Courage, Mateship, Sacrifice and Endurance. We held a dawn service here as the sun rose over the mountains; it was such a chilling surreal feeling and an honour to be able to pay tribute at the actual site of the first major battle in the Kokoda campaign.

On Anzac day we joined the pilgrimage to the Bomana war cemetery in Port Moresby. The rows and rows of white headstones is something that I will never forget.

It is for  these diggers along with the thousands who have fought elsewhere, for the freedoms that I enjoy now some of them have never got to enjoy for themselves, to honour their sacrifice, endurance, courage and mateship, it is for them that I make my pilgrimage every Anzac day morn.

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