Today is Anzac Day in Australia.

It’s a significant day on our calendar as it commemorates the remarkable contribution that our servicemen and women have made to the freedom that we experience in this great country.

Since the original Anzac Day in 1915, when soldiers from Australia and New Zealand stormed the beaches of Gallipoli in Turkey, we have been blessed by thousands of heroic men and women who have given their lives or been severely injured as they served their country.

I recently came across the story of Private Liam Haven, a remarkable young man who served in East Timor and Iraq.

Returning from a routine patrol in 2008, he was hit by shrapnel from an improvised explosive device.  At first, he thought that he was fine and had dust and sweat in his eyes.

Unfortunately, Haven had suffered severe injuries to his eyes, leaving him completely blind in his left eye and with 2% vision in the right.

Ever the optimist, he says that 2% is better than you would imagine.

Haven was a young man, in the prime of his life who was just doing his job trying to bring peace to a troubled, unstable region.  His injuries have changed his life immeasurably and he would be justified in feeling sorry for himself and having a sense of entitlement.

However, this remarkable young man is studying psychology and has taught himself the guitar.  He has battled with depression, but is bravely moving on with his life and seems determined not to become defined by his injuries.

He has the words, “Live in the moment” tattooed on his arm and it’s a mantra that he does his best to live by.  Haven recently said, “I don’t really like to regret a lot of things. I think regrets are a pointless thing: it just reminds you of what you should have done or what you could have done, when you can’t change it.”

He has a great perspective and in September, he’s walking from Sydney to Canberra to raise money for Guide Dogs Australia and Soldier On, a group that supports  young returning soldiers.  If you would like to support his efforts or learn more, follow this link.

Private Liam Haven is just one example of the courageous and resilient servicemen and women from many nations who have made significant sacrifices in the quest for peace and freedom.

So today in Australia, we raise a glass to those who have fallen and those who have been injured.

We say thank you.

We promise to take advantage of the freedom that we have to live a life worthy of their sacrifices.

And we remember their contribution to our way of life…

Lest we forget.

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