Thursday, February 20

Thankful for the soldiers

A replica fighter plane from 1942
Yesterday marked a rather important date in the history of little old Darwin.

It was the 72nd anniversary of the day that the perils of war hit the Australian shore.

Just before ten o'clock on the morning of 19th February 1942, the same commander responsibly for the attack on Pearl Harbour just ten weeks earlier, led 54 land based bombers and approximately 188 attack aircraft to assault the Northern Territory's capital city. Heavy bombers pattern-bombed the harbour and town followed by Zero fighters attacking the military and civil aerodromes as well as the hospital at Berrimah.

The attacked lasted around forty minutes and was then followed by a second onslaught an hour later which involved high altitude bombing of the Royal Australian Air Force base at Parap. This lasted for around a further 25 minutes. In all at least 243 people were killed in these first two attacks and between 300-400 were wounded. A total of twenty military aircraft were destroyed. Eight ships at anchor in the harbour were sunk and most of both the civil and military facilities in Darwin were destroyed.

These air attacks on the Northern capital continued until November 1943. During this time the Japanese bombed Darwin 64 times.

A modern day soldier dressed in his predecessors uniform
as part of the re-enactment held to commemorate the bombing of Darwin

More photos on how Darwin celebrates this important day in history can be found 
Today I am thankful for all those who tried to defend the city that I now call home. I am also incredibly thankful for each and every member of our armed forces. Be they Army, RAAF or Navy they are all equally awesome in my book.

Signing up to a career that could quite possibly led to combat is nothing to be sneezed at and takes a certain amount of bravery and courage. I have nothing but total admiration for the men and women that are prepared to fight for their (our) country. And just between you and me I have known a few of them in my time and they are all amazing.

I am also thankful that war is not something we in Australia need to worry about on a daily basis. Every year Darwin is home to numerous military training exercises. Living rather close to the air base I am reminded of what it must be like to actually live in a war zone. I am thankful that the planes I hear flying overhead are there just for practise and there is no threat of them dropping bombs upon me.

What are you thankful for this week?

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