Honour the fallen by supporting the living

One measure of society is how it treats the men and women who have served their nation during conflict. These may be serving members of the armed forces, or ancillary agencies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs, Australian Federal Police or the Australian Customs Service.

At 11am on 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years continuous warfare. The allied armies had driven the German invaders back, having inflicted heavy defeats upon them over the preceding four months. For the first time in November 1919, prompted by a suggestion from an Australian journalist, Edward Honey who was working in Fleet Street, two minutes silence was kept as part of the commemorative service held at the new Cenotaph in London.

This year, the support group Soldier On is asking Australians to once again pause for two minutes to honour those veterans who’ve committed suicide after returning from battle. For many veterans their battle doesn’t end, even when they return home.

Soldier On supports Australian service men and women who have been wounded, physically or psychologically in contemporary conflicts. It is independent of government and looks to complement the support offered by the Australian Defence Force, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and other government agencies to Australians adversely impacted by their service.

Soldier On focuses on providing a financial, physical and emotional link with those who have been wounded. They achieve this through supporting rehabilitation, coordinating adventurous and community events as well as enabling the empowerment of our veterans through education and employment. Since 2012, Soldier On has helped more than 500 service men and women. This number continues to grow rapidly as the funding increases, the access to infrastructure improves and the organisation matures.

Today, at 11 am when you pause and remember the men and women who have served Australia in many conflicts, take just a minute more to remember and support our wounded Australians as they adjust to the often difficult task of coming home.

Steve Clark is a former officer of the Royal Australian Air Force who retired as a Wing Commander. He is one of more than 40 former service men and women in the firm – many of whom have deployed on operational service. Steve is the National Sector Leader – Defence and National Security, KPMG. KPMG has worked closely with Soldier On since is early days.

KPMG’s work with Soldier On is pro-bono.

Photo courtesy of Soldier On

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