Originally appeared in Armidale Independent on .

By MATT NICHOLLS

IT TOOK just three minutes for The Armidale School’s senior prefect Benjamin Mulligan to read out the names of the 103 former staff and students who died serving their country.
However, their legacy will live on forever.
Because of school holidays, TAS held its Anzac Day ceremony last Thursday, where around 100 people gathered outside the school’s War Memorial Hall for a solemn service.
The special guest speaker was RAAF Squadron Leader Scott Harris, who graduated from TAS in 1999.
Harris spoke about the importance of Anzac Day and exactly what it meant to those currently serving their country.
“Anzac Day represents to many Australians and New Zealanders the birth of our national identity, a national demeanour which forms the cornerstone of who we are,” he said.
“Having just completed the Kokoda Track this past weekend I have had many hours to ponder the elusive Anzac spirit in the context of the brutal and bloody Kokoda campaign of 1942.
“To me, the Anzac spirit is the embodiment of a set of values forming the core of our psyche, the fundamentals of which were struck into the national consciousness at Gallipoli and reaffirmed over the course of our relatively short history.
“Courage. Sacrifice. Mateship. Endurance. Respect. Professionalism. Humour. Devotion to duty. Strength through adversity. We are proud to be known worldwide for these core principles struck by the original Anzacs so long ago, those principles which have continued over time and applies in all we do today.”
Harris also read out a moving poem that was told to him on the Kokoda Track.

We knew he came from the W. State,
Though to us he remained unknown,
For the WX was marked on his hat,
The rest a mortar had blown,
We buried him there on a mountain spur,
Where the trees are draped with moss,
We thought of the mother, no news for her,
Of that irreplaceable loss,
Just a boy he looked with his snowy hair,
So we laid him in the clay,
The padre’s voice was loud and clear,
No others had words to say,
Yet we knew a mother would watch and wait,
For a letter sent from her boy,
How she would dream of the things he did,
How his first words caused her joy,
Perhaps she will know in some unknown way,
Of the little rugged cross,
The remains of her hero, under it lay,
Where the trees are draped with moss,
We cursed the heathen who stripped the dead,
No pity on them can be shown,
We marked the cross so it can be read,
WX-UNKNOWN