How we treated our wounded warriors is the ultimate test
We pause as a nation on ANZAC DAY to remember the more than 100,000 Australians who have died at war. The tragedy of war has ravaged too many generations and the memory of their service will never be forgotten. But there's a pain we are far less ready to talk about. The pain of the men and women who have been through more modern wars whose battle continues years after they come home.
Between 2001 and 2015 325 former members of the ADF took their own life. It's hard to know the exact figures for the past couple of years, but veterans group 'The Warriors Return' claim as many as 69 have committed suicide this year alone.
The government disputes this number, but what can't be denied is the clear and present danger of the care we give to those who have been willing to die for our country.
In August 100 people protested outside the Department of Veterans Affairs demanding a Royal Commission into how they handle medical claims of our veterans.
A recent senate committee made 24 recommendations of how we can improve the department and the government is due to respond to that report in the coming weeks.
Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan admits there is a problem and has already made changes to ensure that anyone who has served will get assistance for any mental health issues with virtually no questions asked.
Tehan is a minister who gets it and is doing everything he can to match the size of the problem we face.
But this is a problem we can't just wait for government to fix.
We need to take more responsibility as Australians to be aware of the struggles these men and women experience when they get home.
We need to do a better job, not just talking about it, but also giving these brave souls a fulfilling life when they get home.
We need to do more to help them get a good job, start their own business or if they can't work, support them to play an even greater part of our community. We need to harness their leadership skills, not just in the private sector, but encourage them to take more of an active role in our towns and cities, running for local council, standing for parliament or even just encouraging them to run the local footy club.
It's not good enough that we all say the right things one day a year.
Every day is a test of how we truly value their service.
I know we are not America, but I love that they let anyone in a uniform go to the front of the queue.
I love that people are unafraid to say 'thank you for your service' and I admire the pride whole communities have, not just in the people who serve, but their families too.
For me, I don't care how much it costs.
They get rolled gold lifetime care and a seat at any table they want in the country they have defended so well, for so long.
If you are a former or current member of the ADF, in this generation or ones past, you are the people who have made this country great.
We who live in the peace you provide love you and are forever in your debt.
Now it's our turn to serve you.
**Paul Murray LIVE, Monday - Thursday at 9pm AEST on SKY NEWS LIVE
**Joining Paul on the program this Monday 11 September, Graham Richardson, Ross Cameron and Janine Perrett.