Australia and our allies went to Afghanistan in a joint effort to deny terrorist organisations a safe haven following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Now, a national day of commemoration is being proposed to recognise the service and sacrifice of Australians in the Middle East Area of Operations.
Ex-serviceman and Port Macquarie RSL sub-Branch acting president Jason Gill spent four and a half months serving as a special forces communication specialist in Afghanistan in 2001. He also served in Iraq two years later.
Mr Gill said there is one date for him that encapsulates the War on Terror.
"September 11 was the day that was the catalyst for everything that happened after," he said.
"Because the war was over such a long period of time and there was no one single large battle, I think September 11 should be the day that we commemorate the service of those who served."
Mr Gill has given two speeches to the NSW RSL congress on having a commemorative day on September 11.
The Port Macquarie RSL sub-Branch also started holding a small service each year on September 11 around six years ago.
"I have heard people say that the date we were pulled out of the Middle East should be the commemorative day, but the final day didn't pass with any significant event or celebration like VP Day did," Mr Gill said.
"September 11 changed everything for our Defence Force. I remember we were ready to be deployed the next day and once we were over there, it was just rotations."
Australian military personnel and civilian staff took part in campaigns across the Middle East Area of Operations from 2001 which came at a terrible cost, with 41 lives lost in Afghanistan and two lives lost in Iraq and Kuwait.
On July 11, 2021, the Minister for Defence confirmed all defence personnel had departed Afghanistan, bringing Australia's longest war to a close.
Mr Gill said having a commemorative day dedicated to the Middle East Area of Operations will mean a great deal to veterans.
"Having a day specifically for this war will allow many ex-servicemen and women to feel attached to the veteran community and will also allow them to have recognition for their service," he said.
Federal Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie said a national day of commemoration will ensure all Australians recognise the service and sacrifice of Defence personnel who served during the War on Terror.
"A national day of commemoration will be a focal point for recognition of all those who served in, supported, or lost their lives during these campaigns," he said.
The Australian Government, through the Department of Defence, is seeking the views of Australian Defence Force personnel, their families, veterans, ex-service organisations and the Australian community on an appropriate day to commemorate those who have served in the Middle East.
Defence has established a survey which will be open until Sunday, August 1.
To have your say visit www.defence.gov.au
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