Remember the Fallen

A poem to commemorate National Police Remembrance Day – 29 September 2021

September 29 is National Police Remembrance Day (NPRD) in Australia, New Zealand and the South West Pacific. Over 800 police officers in Australia alone have died as a result of their duties. Ceremonies are normally held in major cities however in 2021, because of COVID-19, there will only be a few events in which the public can attend. Details are available at the relevant police websites.

The APJ honours the fallen, and the families who are left behind.

In 1995 then Detective Senior Constable Vince Pannell of the Australian Federal Police wrote the below poem:

I AM – REMEMBRANCE

- I -

I am a Constable,

an officer of the law:

I seek such little credit,

but give of so much more.

I served in Sydney, and in Melbourne,

in Perth and Brisbane too;

In Darwin, Hobart, Adelaide,

in Canberra wore the blue

And at the stations in between,

I gave my very all;

I kept my pledge to the end,

until a higher call.

- II -

I rode saddled as a trooper,

and camel past Lake Eyre,

I searched hard in alpine blizzards,

Cyclone Tracy, I was there

I pursued across the city streets

burning houses entered free

Plucked children from their taker,

at the Hilton, that was me;

I swam against such torrents,

A little life to save;

I swept aside the consequence,

And never thought it brave.

- III -

I have served in Cambodia,

Cyprus, and Haiti’s heat;

In Mozambique malaria,

disease and death to great;

I often did not question,

The tasks so set for me;

Nor harboured thoughts of valour,

or wistful gallantry;

I took with me my chances,

and often paid a price;

‘The Job’, so

like no other,

to cost of one their life.

- IV -

I died in Walsh Street, and Russell,

and then at Crescent Head;

I have died before so often,

for sworn oath such, I’ve bled;

I ask no retribution,

nor hurtful anger dealt;

Just guard for me my family,

hold my children, such loss now felt;

And of my grieving sweetheart,

comfort for now alone;

Explain in words of kindness,

no more will I be home.

- V -

Chosen bearers, six in all,

bore the weight of me;

As carried forth, with deep regret,

and lowered tenderly;

I saw for me the slow march,

the draped flag lay so still;

My peak cap rest majestic,

my heart with pride to fill;

For mine was not a death of vain,

and never seen as such;

I lived an passed with honour,

who else, can say as much.

- VI -

I look upon you gathered,

this quiet September day;

Await the piper’s sad lament,

muffled drum and wreaths to lay;

Once yearly, quiet pilgrimage,

silent homage, paid respects;

Spit polished, stand in reverence,

pressed tunics free of flecks;

You came to praise those fallen,

comrades, one and all;

Who made the highest sacrifice,

in duty we stood tall.

- VII -

I am a Constable,

of past and present day;

And of the future, friends,

in your hands, may I say;

We stand beside you, in the shadows,

learn from our mistakes;

Cherish values that we died for,

be warned the price it takes;

And as you kneel in silence;

gently bow your heads to pray;

I thank you, for all of us,

whose sacrifice marks this day.

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