On ANZAC Day 25th April 2006, the Assyrian contingent marched again in the annual Sydney veteran’s parade. Numbering fifty five retired RAF Levies and descendants of deceased Levies they stood their position in the procession as part of British Forces, this honored position was bestowed upon them by the Australian Returned Services League. All other Allied troops are positioned at the rear.
As the contingent marched past the statue of the un-named soldier RAB Khamshi Iskhak Dinkha bellowed “eyes right” and saluted the cenotaph. They marched on to the main stretch on George Street and were greeted by fifty thousand spectators waving flags and expressing their gratitude with such phrases as “thank you” and “thank you for our lives” Children also expressed their appreciation by walking up to them and shaking their hands.
After the parade the contingent arrived at Saint Hurmizd’s Cathedral for special service in memory of fallen service personnel. Australian Army Cadets marched a wreath into the Cathedral. The services were conducted by Kor Apiscoopa Ashur Lazar and preside over by Archdeacon Younan Kiwarkis in absence of His Grace Mar Meelis Zaia.
On completion of Church service wreaths were laid at the memorial plaque outside the Cathedral. Australian Army cadets, Cpl Adrian Kiwarkis and Cdt Aaron Kiwarkis standing as Guard of Honor, a wreath was laid by Rev Lazar and another by the Hon. David Clarke and RAB 50 Dinkha.
At Edessa Hall a luncheon was served in Honor of the veterans by the Saint Hurmizd’s Cathedral ladies committee. The levies were then presented with the Australian world war two commemorative medallion by the Honorable David Clarke MLC [Liberal Party] Six Levies received this Honor and were invited to a luncheon at Parliament House.
Many were thanked for their contribution towards this event including Mr. Paul Azzo [Liberal Party] and a very active member of the Assyrian Levies Association.
An Australian serviceman was also honored, the late Lt General Sir Stanley Savige, a veteran of Gallipoli whose actions during the Assyrian exodus from Urmia saved thousands of Assyrian refugees. His story can be read on our website at assyrianlevies.com later this year the Assyrian Levies Association in conjunction with Australian Government ministers and the Generals family will visit his final resting place to place a wreath in his honor.