‘The motivation of why we do anything at 1 RAR, and in life, is love.’ Says Chaplain Chris Booth. ‘And it is for this reason we commemorate past events, so that we can consider life, death and the meaning of it all’
Every year, on the 12th May, the First Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR) pauses to remember the Battle of Fire Base Coral in 1968. This year the 12th May fell on the last day of a war fighter exercise. After two weeks of hard training and before returning to barracks the unit paused to commemorate the Battle in the field.
The Battalion colours were bought up to the range along with 16 bayonets (later to be affixed to rifles with bush hats over the butt stock of each rifle) to remember the 16 soldiers who lost their lives in the battle.
Many found conducting the commemoration as a field service rather that a barracks parade refreshing. The gathered unit was sweaty, scared and battle hardened and could empathised with what happened so long ago.
It was therefore the perfect opportunity to reflect from scripture about the meaning of it all. John 15, verses 12-13 were read out:
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.’
Jesus, at this stage of his life, had just told his disciples that he was going to the cross, willingly, to die. He did this because no one else could. The Bible speaks of humanity, each of us, suffering with the desire to reject the God of the Bible and go our own way and in doing so we forfeit eternal life with God for eternal damnation. God in his love sent Jesus to live a sinless life and therefore offer up what no one else could, a perfect sacrifice, to pay the debt that we cannot. He offers himself as a sacrifice for you and me so that all those who trust in him would not experience the pain that our sins deserve – he bore it all on himself when he died on the cross on our behalf.
This sacrificial love that Jesus showed us is the sort of love that make us consider why and who it is we serve – for whom are you willing to die for. And secondly such a day encouraged us to be thankful. Thankful for the sacrificial love of others that allow us to live and breathe and love today.
Says Chaplain Chris Booth, ‘It was a wonderful opportunity to serve God and this nation in leading this time of reflection’.