Kasthoory Jayankanth stood at the Freedom Park podium to deliver her speech on Monday, April 25.

She won the Anzac Centenary Scholarship 2016 competition. 

Her speech is below:

The word ANZAC has been a part of every Australian and every New Zealander through our language, through our culture and through our spirit all the way back to the 25th of April 1915.

Young or old. Rich or poor. Thick skinned or sensitive.

The thought has some level of impact on each and every one of us.

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Sure, it's a set of initials for "Australian and New Zealand Army Corps."

But the real meaning, the real idea is a lot deeper than that.

ANZAC VALUES: Kasthoory Jayankanth delivers her speech at the Hervey Bay main Anzac cceremony on Monday.
ANZAC VALUES: Kasthoory Jayankanth delivers her speech at the Hervey Bay main Anzac cceremony on Monday. Alistair Brightman

Allow me to put this in perspective.

On the 25th of April 1915, a whole new world was born.

A new side of each man was revealed.  Almost like a whole different person.

Each simple man who lived in a calm stable home, surrounded by loved ones transformed into bold, brave and courageous soldiers fighting for their country who had no one else but each other.

These men, underwent a series of emotional and physical hardships.

Even before stepping upon the battlefield, many were washed with the overwhelming fear of the fragile life ahead.
So many things tore through every soldier, breaking through each of them slowly yet surely.

Put yourself in a pair of a soldier's shoes. Imagine living outside for weeks on end, with limited shelter from the cold, wind and rain in winter and the heat and the sun in summer.

Imagine that feeling of despair when you write a letter back home to your family not knowing if you'd ever grip a pencil in your numbness again.

Imagine living with that constant fear of never knowing if this breath you take right now is your last.

Imagine how they found the strength to pull through.

How they brought themselves to open their eyes the next morning.

How they got up and went on duty.

How they coped.

How they set aside their emotional and physical struggles and learned to move on.

These fighters set a standard of conduct which paved the way for all Australian and New Zealander troops in all conflicts that followed to date.

But how?
What fuelled them to stay strong?

What inspired them to wake up each morning and continue fighting?

It was the spirit which was alive in each and every one of them.

It was the mate ship, it was the courage, it was the bravery and it was the loyalty, all in the face of adversity.

Bob Carr, a former Australian politician, once described ANZAC, as a day not of celebration but of national memory.
It's a day when we learn, and learn again, of the horror of purposeless war.

It is a day for looking after your mates, cherishing your home, your neighbourhood and family.

It's a day for realizing how rare and precious this wonderful country of ours is."

The ANZAC spirit was alive in each digger in the trenches uniting all of them together as one giving them strength to carry on.

It represented a sense of purpose and direction.

The ANZAC's knew what they had to do, they knew of the dangers and the difficulties but they still persevered and did not let those difficulties stop them from doing what was planned.

Although the whole campaign did not achieve what was intended, the soldiers on the ground did not stray until their leaders decided it was time to withdraw.

I believe that this strength, this spirit exists in every one of us.

There is this flame in every Australian, and every New Zealander, which burns bright.

Take a look at the students who marched today, think about the thousands of students going back to school tomorrow.

No matter how tough that math's assignment is or no matter how challenging that last chemistry exam was, students push through.

No one ever gets up and leaves in the middle of an exam because it was too hard.

The majority of students push through it, no matter how challenging that maybe.

Every single person gathered here today has been through something hard-hitting.

It might have been the passing of a loved one or loss of a job. 

Something that made us thoroughly believe that we could never recover, never move on.

But every single one of are sitting here today.

We pulled through. Just like the Anzac's.

 

They pushed through all their hardships and overcome every obstacle just to accomplish the task.

That spirit within us, always burns bright urging us to be the kind of people that these soldiers once were.

These soldiers were, compassionate, determined and selfless. Now, to myself that is exactly what the ANZAC spirit means.

It is the compassion, the determination and the selflessness within all Australian and New Zealander troops.

This speech isn't going to stop war from happening but what I hope it does is that it inspires you to employ at least one of these qualities of the ANZAC spirit in your day to day life.

Whether it be compassion, determination or selflessness.

Maybe later on today, maybe next week at school or work or maybe at the grocery store this weekend.

The display of these qualities set the ANZAC spirit into our language, into this country's heritage.

The ANZAC spirit would continue to burn strong and bright and will always be a part of life in Australia.

So from my heart to yours, let's keep the ANZAC spirit alive.



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