Bill's Speeches

NATIONAL MEMORIAL FOR MH17 VICTIMS

NATIONAL MEMORIAL FOR MH17 VICTIMS


ST PATRICKS CATHEDRAL


MELBOURNE


 


THURSDAY, 7 AUGUST 2014


 


 


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Families and friends of those aboard MH17.

 

Australia shares your sorrow.

 

Governor-General, Prime Minister, Your Excellencies, my fellow Australians.

 

We gather in this peaceful sanctuary to pay our national tribute of respect.

 

We gather as sons and daughters, as brothers and sisters, as partners and parents, as friends and strangers joined in a single garment of grief.

 

In the sight of all faiths, we mourn all on MH17 - innocent, unoffending and precious – these victims of a most terrible, violent and unimaginable evil.

 

We mourn 38 of our own, who laughed and learned and loved beneath the Southern Cross that today flies half-mast around the nation that was their home.

 

There is grief that is known but cannot be shared.

 

There are loved ones coming home, but not really.

 

There is hope for an end to the quest for a reason, but this too will not be enough.

 

Today is not about why, or how – it is about who we have lost, and what we will miss.

 

Some will call it closure, some will call it acceptance, some will call it letting go – whatever it is, it will take a while.

 

For some of us, the worst is not hearing their voice again – and knowing that we never will.

 

The lack of it, the silence, the unfinished conversations, the too-late statements of love, the enduring void in the air, are impossible to imagine, and hard to live with.

 

Some of us have dreams from which we do not want to wake.

 

Places we cannot go again, albums and images and movies we do not want to see again, for fear of love bursting out, and breaking once more a heart that is almost healed.

 

As a father, as a son, as a brother, as a husband, I cannot know – I cannot contemplate – the sense of avoidable calamity, and ill-fated coincidence – the unimaginable hell of alternative possibilities you are going through.

 

It is almost impossible to say anything that can console you at this painful hour– but I hope you can draw modest consolation from Australia’s affirmation, from our nation’s great, invisible, generous, sustaining sympathy.

 

From the knowledge that you do not walk alone today – you loved wonderful people, who lived meaningful lives.

 

Let those of us who pray, pray for the departed, pray for the bereaved, and pray for our country which bears an indelible scar on its soul.

 

And let all of us remember the names of those lost to us now.

 

Let us remember their potential and their possibility.

 

Let us remember them not for how they died, but for why they lived –  for the love and friendship and joy that those of us left behind vow to never again take for granted.

 

God bless you, god bless your memory.

 

May the beautiful souls of flight MH17 be taken by a flight of angels to rest in eternal peace.

 

ENDS

 

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