Author “Remember – Lest We Forget”
I was always raised to have a lot of respect and reverence for our service members and have been up close and personal to many of the stories within the pages of Remember.
My mum was a nurse, and while not in the services she was an infinitely kind woman whose memory drives me every single day. Both of my grandfathers served in WWII, and my great-great uncle was KIA in WWI. I was a navy cadet in my teenage years, and I’ve worked with military personnel during flood and disaster relief efforts as a member of the State Emergency Service.
But back in 2009, I ultimately decided to write Remember for two reasons. We were in Perth for the Anzac Day march that year. You see, my dad had served in Vietnam, but almost never talked about it. While he always went to the marches and ceremonies, he had never marched, and never wore his medals. So we were in Perth, where one of Dad's best mates lived then, and as fate would have it a few of the other guys from their unit happened to all be meeting there to march together. They put a spare set of medals on Dad, the same ones that he had been awarded, and convinced him to march with them. I'll never forget the look on my dad's face that day. It was absolutely precious. Now he marches every year and wears his medals with pride.
The other experience that inspired me to write Remember was at about the same time my two young boys were asking me lots of questions about why we recognise Anzac and Remembrance Days the way we do. While we had some fantastic conversations about all the reasons, when I went looking for resources, I couldn’t find anything that got to the heart of ‘why’. And so I wrote Remember.
I've always believed in giving back to the community. With a long history of volunteer work, I received a Queensland Flood and Cyclone Citation in 2011 and in 2014 was awarded a Meritorious Commissioner’s Commendation for my work in the SES.
I hold a Bachelor of Arts (English Literature), Post Graduate Diploma of Education and Post Graduate Diploma of Psychology. As a teacher and mentor for over 20 years, I jumped at the idea of holding an illustration competition, to not only share the opportunity of telling this story with others, but also to assist artists in having their work published.
I've known a lot of people over the years who have served, and many of them have inspired different parts of the book. When I first wrote it, I wasn't going to put my name to it at all, and instead had penned, 'No author is named as this story is for those whom we honour. Remember them.' While my name did end up on the book, I was just the hands that typed the words. There really was no way I could make money from Remember. The proceeds always had to go to help those who stood and still stand so bravely to give us a life of freedom and security. I’m looking forward to working with RSL to see the money raised from Remember spent in ways that will make a meaningful difference, especially to help combat veteran suicide and homelessness.
It breaks my heart that today more of our defence personnel are being taken by suicide than in combat. They deserve better. I was speaking with a veteran who told me that one of the most memorable moments from his life was when he was marching on Anzac day, and as he turned the corner a six-year-old boy stood holding a big ‘Thank You’ sign. This is my thank you sign, for all our veterans. They might be my words… but this is their story.
This unique project has only been made possible through the support of those who have believed in it, especially Clive, Tim and Kel. It is more than just a children's book, and it has been incredibly moving to see the impact Remember has had for those who have heard it already. I hope you come to treasure it too. Lest we forget.