What a wonderful thing we can celebrate with Ted Carter. One of our heroes.
Ted Carter was one of the brigade of men who went off to war to do their duty and do their part in battle and the war that Australia considered was its obligation to its people and its way, heritage and history.
Back then though they were just ordinary Australian men who never considered themselves being heroes.
They went as young men, fathers and sons, and those that are left now are ageing fathers, grandfathers and great- grandfathers, family and extended men of character and humility, but with a quiet determination and stoicism.
Mr Carter – and we call him that with all the honour and the incredible debt we owe to those whose selfless actions and heroism have forged this history we can now observe – is off to Egypt on a pilgrimage of incredible poignancy and timeless significance.
The World War II veteran and retired Tamworth accountant will make the journey back to Egypt next week for the first time since fighting in the Battle of El Alamein in October, 1942.
He is one of the original Rats of Tobruk.
He is 93 years young, and is one of 21 veterans from across Australia selected to make the pilgrimage to mark the 70th anniversary of the battle and the North African campaigns. Not just one who survived the seige and the eight-month campaign to repel the Germans in 1941, but one who survived the ensuing African battlefields, and then has obviously had a long and rich life since.
We owe men like Ted Carter, and the thousands of others who today are unknown to many, a debt that we can never repay – those who fought and defended our honour and the belief in our future.
They are men among mortals but their travels and their bravery should be legend.
They are honored on Anzac Day but often they are forgotten for most of the year until another anniversary comes around. They should be not forgotten as they are forgotten too often.
Lest we forget – words that also escape sometimes from us too soon.
We will not forget – and we should ensure their service, their deeds, are immortalised in our history, but more importantly in our psyche and our memory.