2021 Indigenous Veterans Commemoration Service
The service and sacrifice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans was remembered at the 2021 Indigenous Veterans Commemoration Service in Sydney on 28 May.
Held annually during National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June) and now in its fifteenth year, the 2021 service was attended by representatives from 21 schools and was livestreamed into schools across the state and was available publicly online on the RSL NSW Facebook page.
The Service combined conventional military protocol with Indigenous ceremonial display including a traditional smoking ceremony and featured the involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, school students, current serving and veterans of the Australian Defence Force.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have served in every war and conflict since the Boer War. Although they fought – and sometimes died – shoulder-to-shoulder with their fellow Australians, they returned home to a country that still refused to acknowledge them as citizens and denied them the recognition and entitlements they had earned.
Although nothing can be done to change the past, occasions like this service provide an opportunity to recognise and honour indigenous veterans and further the process of reconciliation.
About National Reconciliation Week
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, More than a word. Reconciliation takes action, urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action.
Images from the 2021 Service