A day after Governor-General Quentin Bryce presented Australia’s latest Victoria Cross to the family of Corporal Cameron Baird they have given it to the Australian War Memorial.
It will go on display with other VCs awarded to Australians, including three awarded over action in Afghanistan.
In a brief ceremony at the Memorial’s Hall of Valour, director Brendan Nelson accepted Corporal Baird’s VC – the 100th awarded to an Australian – plus his Medal for Gallantry as an indefinite loan.
Cameron’s father Doug said this was an individual award but the family saw it as an award to all those in the 2nd Commando Regiment.
“We also think very clearly of all the parents, the mums and dads, of all the other fallen soldiers. We see it as something for them as well,” he said.
Mr Baird also had some advice for other parents of servicemen and women.
“Don’t be scared to tell `em you love `em because just don’t know what’s around the corner,” he said.
Dr Nelson said Cameron’s spirit was in the memorial and always would be.
“The generations of custodians of the memorial will forever guard his record with immense pride as we tell his story, your story and that of the very brave men of 2 Commando who have paid the highest price,” he said.
Corporal Baird was awarded the VC for heroism during an attack on a strongly defended insurgent position in Afghanistan on June 22 last year.
Three times he charged an enemy-held building to draw fire away from his comrades. The final time he was mortally wounded.
Following the presentation, family members placed red poppies next to Corporal Baird’s name on the roll of honour.