|It was special to speak on the Victory in the Pacific Private Members motion moved by the Hon. Trevor Khan MLC in Parliament.
It is very important that Parliament acknowledges the significant anniversaries of pivotal events in our relatively youthful nation's history.
VP, or Victory in the Pacific Day—also referred to as VJ, or Victory over Japan Day—is celebrated on 15 August. That date commemorates Japan's acceptance of the Allied demand for unconditional surrender on 14 August 1945. For Australians it meant that the Second World War was finally over.
The following day, 15 August, is usually referred to as VP Day. Australians had been at war since 3 September 1939, so the surrender marked the end of nearly six years of conflict, with all the loss, stress and fear that marked those years.
This year marks 75 years since the end of the Second World War, which triggered euphoric celebrations across New South Wales and dancing through the streets of Sydney as then Prime Minister Ben Chifley announced over the radio, "Fellow citizens, the war is over ... let us remember those whose lives were given that we may enjoy this glorious moment and may look forward to a peace which they have won for us." Such fitting words.
This year's celebrations were very different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with many face-to-face commemorative events very restricted. The New South Wales Government and the acting veterans affairs Minister, Geoff Lee, launched the One Month to Remember VP Day campaign, encouraging veterans and their families to share their service stories in the lead-up to the seventy-fifth anniversary of VP Day to ensure that we can continue to acknowledge the service of veterans and, importantly, their families. The story collection is available online on the NSW War Memorials website.
To read my speech on Hansard please click here.