John Howard Address At Bali Memorial Service

Prime Minister John Howard has spoken at the Bali Memorial Service, in honour of the victims of last year’s terrorist attack.

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Transcript of address by Prime Minister John Howard at the Bali Memorial Service, Bali.

As we gather in these wonderful surroundings to mark that terrible event a year ago that inflicted such pain and suffering on people from many countries, our very first thoughts go to those who lost their loved ones on the 12th of October last year. Yours is a loss that can never be recovered, but it is a loss with the passage of time and the support and the love of your fellow countrymen and women can be made perhaps a little easier to bear.

As we look back over the last year, I think speaking as the Prime Minister of Australia, and I know that there are families of many countries here, we have learnt something about ourselves as people. We have been reminded of some of the strengths that we have always had, but we’ve always been reminded of that wonderful duality of the Australian character and the Australian personality. We have been reminded that we are a people who are both strong and soft. We are a people who are both tough and caring and over the last year we have seen a national outpouring of support and grief to those who lost so much, the like of which most of us have not previously experienced.

We’ve also learnt that we in this part of the world must make the common cause to fight the scourge of terrorism. The events of the last year brought the people of Australia and the people of Indonesia closer together. And I want on behalf of all of the Australians present to express my gratitude to the leaders and the people of Indonesia for the courtesies that they have extended not only in relation to today but for generally over the last the year. We’ve also learnt to control our anger and direct it towards identifying and punishing and bringing to justice those who perpetrated this terrible deed. And in all the time that has gone by we have retained a great passion and a great affection for the lovely people of Bali who have suffered so much.

And so my fellow Australians and those from many other nations who gather here today to mark the first anniversary of the attack on the 12th of October last year, can I say again to those who lost their loved ones, as I did a year ago, that there were 19 and a half million Australian hearts that had, in every one of those hearts a corner of affection and support for those who lost so much. We haven’t forgotten you, we never will. Australians will never forget the 12th of October 2003, but it has taught us a number of things about ourselves, it’s taught us about our strength and it’s taught us about the need to cooperate with others in the ongoing fight against the terrible deeds and the terrible hatreds that caused so much pain and so much misery a year ago today.

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