While your mates shotgun tinnies in their pluggers to the strains of Khe Sanh, here's a post I wrote for BuzzFeed on the 8 other times you can be proud to be Australian. You can find the original post here.
1. Sydney Siege.
A mentally ill man with a history of violence took a small cafe in the heart of Sydney but he could not shake our resilience. Tens of thousands laid flowers near Lindt Cafe in Martin Place where Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson lost their lives in the December 15 attack. The spontaneous display of grief started with just one bouquet and took almost 100 volunteers to remove them. It says something significant about the Australian character that our response was not fear or further violence but flowers.
2. The Sydney Olympics.
Australians came together to deliver what was widely described as the best modern Olympics, and we wear it with pride — last month I saw a man on a Sydney train in his volunteer uniform. Cathy Freeman’s gold medal in the 400m — the hopes of the nation resting on her shoulders— remains one of the great moments in world sport. As an Indigenous athlete, and the granddaughter of a member of the Stolen Generation, Freeman’s victory also became a symbol of national unity.
3. The apology to the Stolen Generation.
On February 13, 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to The Stolen Generation and their families for forceable removals beginning in the late 1800s and ending in the 1970s; "this blemished chapter in our nation's history.” Thousands of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians gathered in Canberra to watch the historic apology delivered in Federal Parliament. The apology was televised around Australia and was shown at special outdoor settings in major cities and remote indigenous communities. Many of those watching had personal experiences of the events — their shoulders shuddered with emotion as the words struck.
4. When we ended US dominance of the America's Cup.
"I don't think there has been a greater moment of pride for Australia … not only winning but the way you won." These were the words of then Prime Minister Bob Hawke after Australia won the 1983 America's Cup by 41 seconds after the lead changed several times. The victory by Australia II ended a 132-year stranglehold on the event by the United States. It was also the birth of the now iconic boxing kangaroo. Prime Minister Hawke also said any boss who gave a worker the sack from not turning up to work the next day was a "bum," and Australians no doubt began working on a monster hangover.
5. When people power freed a passenger trapped by a train.
Commuters and staff at a Perth train station worked together to free a man whose leg had become trapped between the carriage and platform. He was freed and left uninjured. We beamed. The pictures were shared around the globe and were featured on BuzzFeed, Mashable, on-air on CNN and on the homepage of the New York Times.
6. When the "Angel of Bali" stood on top of fear to rescue a fellow Bali Bombings victim.
Hanabeth Luke became known as the ‘Angel of Bali' when she was pictured by a freelance photographer helping fellow survivor Tom Singer from the burning ruin of Kuta’s Sari Club minutes after the 2002 Bali Bombings. Luke also became a reluctant poster girl for the war on terror after the image travelled around the globe, capturing an unfaltering courage and terror at Australia’s door. Singer later died as did Luke’s partner Marc Gajard. She honoured their memories by becoming an advocate for peace.
7. When Australia #putyourbatsout.
People worldwide took to social media to post images of a cricket bat at their door as a sign of respect for Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes, who was killed doing what he loves on November 27, 2014. The tribute was started on Twitter by Sydney father Paul Taylor, a 48-year-old IT worker with 10 followers. It became a worldwide phenomenon, with cricketing greats Dean Jones and Sachin Tendulkar, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and even CEO of Twitter Dick Costolo climbing aboard.
8. Almost everyday ...
2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty overcame the loss of her son at the hands of his father to start a campaign against family violence.