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Well done to all those members of the ADF who received medals in the Australia Day Honours List! It’s a great achievement and a fitting recognition of their significant achievements.

Medal are funny things. When I joined the Army 147 years ago not too many people had medals. Probably half the Army had Vietnam medals and the rest nothing. As we progressed into the 1990s Vietnam veterans started to disappear from the Services and we ended up with very senior appointments across Defence with no service ribbons. Jump forward to a few months ago when I was visiting the Australian Defence Force Academy. A second-year cadet (I guess an ex-soldier) walked past me with two rows of ribbons!

Napoleon once said “it’s amazing what a man will do for a piece of ribbon”. I’d update that slightly, “you are amazing without a ribbon”. So, one, two, three rows of ribbons or no ribbons – you wore the uniform and you served and you came home. You are amazing and thank you for your service!

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