These thoughts and feelings are amplified tenfold on ANZAC Day. At a Dawn Service or while marching I reflect on many things:
The laws of war call on medical assistance to be driven by the urgency of the need, not the side on which someone was fighting or otherwise who they are. I remember all of the patients I have had the honour to care for because they are the exact reason I wanted to became a nurse in the Air Force. They have not all been Australian, they have not all been Defence personnel yet they have trusted us to provide the highest standard of medical care – sometimes in the most difficult of circumstances and in austere environments. They have had a lasting impact on my life and I feel so very lucky that I was one of the people who got to be involved in providing their care.
I think about my colleagues and friends who I have served with over the years. They are some of the most selfless people and they do what they do because they care. Because they, like me, feel that everyone deserves the highest standard of care regardless of their circumstances. We have shared some extraordinary experiences and, beyond their wide-ranging support to me, they have made me laugh on some of the toughest days. I will be forever grateful that our paths crossed whether for a moment in time or as friends over many years.
My family and friends who have supported me are in my thoughts on ANZAC Day. They are unsung heroes because they provide the love, support and freedom that enables me and others to do what we do. They do not get enough recognition and we could not do what we do without them.
I think a lot about my son. I hope I have been a good role model. I hope that when he is older he feels that I contributed. I continue to teach him what it is all about and I know that he understands that ANZAC Day is more than a parade going along North Terrace and King William Road. I hope he takes the attributes of courage, determination and camaraderie into his adult life.
For all of these reasons ANZAC Day is a day of remembrance, respect and appreciation for me. It is very personal and very emotional, not because of what I have been through or done but because of the patients, friends and colleagues I have met and because of the love and support I have received along the way. I feel so very fortunate that I have been given the opportunities I have – they will never be taken for granted.
So, on ANZAC Day, I march to say thank you.
With thanks to Wing Commander Carla Zampatti, Nursing Officer, Health Reserves Branch – Air Force who is also a member of the South Australian IHL Advisory Committee of Australian Red Cross. The article was written in her personal capacity.