For most Australians, remembering their fallen is a signal to commemorate the plight of unknown or very distantly related soldiers.
But while crowds around the country reflect on the Australian and New Zealand defence forces past and present this Anzac Day, one former Katherine family will remember a son and brother.
Ray and Pam Palmer are preparing to mark the second Anzac Day since losing their son, Private Scott Palmer, in Afghanistan in June, 2010.
Scott was killed alongside two other Australians, Private Benjamin Chuck and Private Timothy Aplin, in a helicopter crash in Northern Kandahar.
To commemorate this year’s Anzac Day the Palmers make the trip to Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney, where Scott was stationed with the 2nd Commando unit.
Ray will march with the unit as part of commemorations.
The barracks represent two heart-rending moments in the Palmers’ lives – Scott’s shattering homecoming after his death, and the first Anzac Day without him.
Ray said it was very hard to say what this year’s commemoration would be like, but he was confident in the support network that would surround them.
“That’s one of the reasons we go down there (to Holsworthy Barracks) – Scott was affiliated with the unit, and they bend over backwards to look after us.”
Ray, who was with the air force for more than 20 years, said it was important to remember not only the lost, but the wounded and suffering.
“I think Anzac Day is not only just to remember our fallen, but to remember all the wounded that we’ve had throughout all the wars, back to the Boer War, Korea and Gallipoli.”
He also highlighted the importance of sparing a thought for Defence personnel suffering from psychological problems as a result of conflict.
While Ray said the day held particular significance to the family having lost a loved one, it was essential to spread the message further and keep history alive.
He said Anzac Day needed to remain on the school curriculum so children could piece together an informed account of history and Australia’s place in the world.
Remembering all the wars, particularly “forgotten” events like the Korean War, was essential, Ray said.
“It’s part of our history and how we’re involved in the world structure.”
The Palmers will stay in Sydney for a week, where Ray will attend meetings for the Soldiers of Kokoda initiative.
The Palmers moved to Darwin from Katherine last April.
Their son Adam remains in town.