Sarah McCarthy hopes to place a poppy beside her father’s name this Remembrance Day
The Project are pleased to be able to bring you a good news update.
You may recall back in January, we aired a story about the families of peacekeepers petitioning to have the Australian War Memorial recognise soldiers who had fallen in peacekeeping duties on their Roll of Honour.
Your response was overwhelming. Our web story was flooded with visitors and their petition on change.org gained an extra 20,000 signatures in the following few days.
And yesterday, the War Memorial council agreed to add the names of 48 Australians killed in "non-warlike" operations to the Roll.
“It means the world to us,” says Sarah McCarthy, whose peacekeeper father Captain Peter McCarthy died in January 1988 when his vehicle hit a landmine in southern Lebanon.
“It’s 25 years in January since my dad died, and it’s 25 years too long since his name’s been missing from that roll.”
Chairman Rear Admiral Ken Doolan said the decision reflected community expectations.
Rear Admiral Doolan admitted some would be unhappy with the decision but said the council had listened to community concerns and the opinion of current servicemen.
"The nature of war has changed, the nature of conflict has changed," he said.
"We're going back to the founder of this remarkable institution.
"The (Charles) Bean philosophy was to recognise those who paid the supreme sacrifice, and the supreme sacrifice means just exactly that, losing your life in uniform in the service of your country."
Avril Clark, whose son Private Jamie Clark died in the Solomons in 2005, said for years she had been fighting a lone battle for the inclusion.
Mrs Clark organised the Change.org petition presented to the council, which now has more than 41,000 signatures.
"My son - and the 47 others like him - will now finally win the recognition that they so thoroughly deserve," she said in a statement.
War Memorial Director Brendan Nelson said the Honour Roll would be updated "well before" the end of the year.
Apart from the 11 peacekeepers killed it would also honour four sailors killed when HMAS Warrnambool hit a land mine in 1947, and men who lost their lives in post-armistice Korea.
Others are "defence personnel who've lost their lives in operations as determined by the government of the day and the Australian Defence Force," Dr Nelson said.
Here at The Project, we’re proud to have been involved with the campaign, and we’d like to thank you, our viewers, for rallying behind the cause.
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