Local Labor Federal Member for Burt, Matt Keogh, paid his respects to Australias fallen service men and women last week in a rare task of service.
On a cold and windy Canberra morning, when other Members of Parliament were still getting ready for the day, Matt Keogh MP took on the symbolic and practical role of cleaner of one our nations most sacred sites, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial.
To mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the body of an unknown Australian soldier was recovered from Adelaide Cemetery near Villers-Bretonneaux, France and transported to Australia. After lying in state in the Kings Hall of Old Parliament House, the Unknown Australian Soldier was interred in the Hall of Memory on 11 November 1993.
Commencing with the setting aside of wreaths and removing the poppies left by visiting school children, Mr Keogh then swept the tomb before washing it and then dusting out the delicate gold leaf lettering.
The inscription on the tomb reads, An unknown Australian soldier killed in the war of 19141918. At the head of the tomb is inscribed Known unto God and at the foot, He is all of them and he is one of us.
The National War Memorial holds a special place for me, as a number of my family are featured on its honour roll, including my grandmothers cousin, Victor Mocatti, who died in Messines France in July 2017 and two of my Dads uncles, George and Laurence Keogh, who were killed in the Second World War, Mr Keogh said.
Having just returned from spending time with our troops in Afghanistan and the Middle East, it was particularly poignant for me to be able to pay homage to all those fallen men and women that have fought and died for Australia in this unique way.
Many Australians never get to visit our National War Memorial, so to have the unique solemn duty of cleaning this focus of our war time commemorations was very moving and a huge honour.
If Burt residents are ever visiting Canberra and are interested in information on the National War Memorial or visiting Parliament House, Mr Keogh encourages them to contact his office on (08) 9390 0180 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.