Today we remember those Australian men and women who gave their lives for my homeland, Australia.
However today I also wish to honour the many East Timorese who gave their lives protecting the men of 2/2nd and 2/4th commando units who served on the island in 1942.
The harsh reality is that we (Australia) invaded East Timor to stop the Japanese.
We were not invited and yet the little land of the crocodile, and it’s people, chose and paid dearly in defending and protecting our own fathers.
On the evening at Betano Beach leaflets were dropped saying “your friends do not forget you”.
I wonder going forward, given the spying, the oil and what happened in 1975, how we feel about “your friends do not forget you”, and what those diggers in 1942 would be thinking of it now.
Let’s as a nation help build Timor Leste, as it’s known today, and make the diggers of the 2/2nd and 2/4th proud by honouring that debt of honour “your friends do not forget you”.
Chairman Australia Timor Leste Advancement Society