Commemoration for Australians involved in the Middle East Area of Operations

In response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, Australian military personnel and civilian staff from various agencies took part in campaigns across the Middle East Area of Operations between 2001 and 2021.

On 11 July 2021, the Minister for Defence confirmed all Australian Defence Force personnel had departed Afghanistan, bringing our nation’s longest war to a close.

Australia’s participation came at a terrible cost. Forty-one lives were lost in Afghanistan and two lives were lost in Iraq and Kuwait, while many returned with long-lasting physical and mental trauma. Their service and sacrifice have helped to save Australian lives from terrorist attacks on our own soil.

A national day of commemoration has been proposed to acknowledge the service of Australians in the Middle East Area of Operations, those who supported at home, and to honour those who lost their lives.

The veteran community is invited to provide input to inform the decision about the most appropriate day to hold this commemoration and what form it should take. Please click here to complete the Department of Defence survey which closes at midnight on Sunday 1 August 2021.

RSL NSW supports the date of 11 July as the official day of commemoration. Commemorating the end of a conflict is consistent with the traditional way our community recognises the service and sacrifice of veterans and their families during that conflict.

If you would like to provide input to the collective response of RSL NSW, please send your feedback via

Image courtesy Defence Australia

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