Author: Rosalie Crestani, Deputy President of Rise Up Australia Party
“We were always on constant watch if they were ready to attack at any time,” says my Father who joined the Vietnam War cause in Southeast Asia in the late 1960’s. “We all did our bit to push back against the guerillas and the threat of Communist insurgence.” That’s my Dad, Walter Steckis, unafraid of threats or to speak out against them.
Although born into Nazi Communist Germany and spending his early childhood years practically starving to death in a refugee camp, he was given a fresh start to life in Australia after the smoke and ashes of WW2 eventually subsided. Walter sure did embrace his new way of life; Perhaps Walter’s greatest patriotic commitment to his citizenship was joining the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) then falling in love with my Mother, Danielle a fourth generation Australian, at a dance hall in the early 60’s. Then in 1969, with young bride Danielle and baby Walter Jnr. in tow, Walter was dispatched and stationed in Malaysia as a fighter plane electronics technician, who ‘fix those planes up quick then got the boys back out into the fight’.
During his two years of duty, fifteen planes saw constant action of their squadron, all of which Walter had a hand in bringing up to standard for the battle and without failure. The sacrifice of service is also made by the families; Life for Danielle at that time was tense, as she recalls carrying a young child on her hip as army tanks often commanded the streets of Penang during a typical shopping day.
Forty-six years later, Walter and Danielle still stand proud of their patriotic commitment, so much so that they have been Rise Up Australia members for years now.
We want to pause and take this opportunity to say that from all of us here at Rise Up Australia we extend our gratitude to our numerous Veterans and their families, from Gallipoli to present, who fought, served and supported, who did their bit in protecting Australian freedoms and way of life that we enjoy today. Whether or not you saw any action, you serve us proud.
We also honour the fallen, and share the grief with friends and families, knowing that the terrors of war, at times, leave no ultimate victors. To those who are still in service roles in Australia or abroad, our gratitude and prayers are also with you.
Our Veterans, like Walter Steckis, and current members in action and in your service you stood against the imminent threat. Rise Up Australia will always remember your sacrifice and make a patriotic commitment to remain resolute and unafraid against the threats and to speak out against them.
To Keep Australia Great!
Lest We Forget.
Anzac Remembrance 2017