President Obama Speaks to U.S. and Australian Service Members


Uploaded by whitehouse on 19.11.2011

Transcript:
Prime Minister Gillard: Thank you very much.
I'll start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land
on which we meet and in the spirit of reconciliation pay my
respects to elders past and present.
I'm here to introduce President Obama to you,
and I know that you are going to give him a wonderfully warm
Darwin, Northern Territory welcome.
We're here for three reasons.
First, President Obama said when he came to Australia that he
wanted to get out beyond Canberra;
he wanted to get out and about and meet some real Aussies and
no better place to do it than here in Darwin,
here in the Northern Territory.
(applause)
President Obama, a few characteristics of these
real Aussies, having spent some time last year in Afghanistan
watching the AFL grand final replay with them,
they love their sport even when Collingwood wins.
It's always a controversial call.
They like having a drink with their mates,
but when they're deployed overseas we feed them this
toxic brew called Near Beer.
I'm sorry about that.
They love their country, they work hard -- they work hard in
a spirit of mateship and accepting responsibilities.
So, President Obama here to see some real Australians.
Second, President Obama is here to say to the serving military
personnel, to the people from our Australian Defence Force
and to some Americans friends as well, thank you for what you do,
thank you from me as Prime Minister of Australia and
from President Obama.
Thank you for everything that you do in our own nation,
in times of natural disaster.
Thank you for the hard work and training you do in this place.
Thank you for the way that you hold up the standards of our
country and hold our flag high, whether it's in East Timor,
or the Solomon Islands, or the hard fight in Afghanistan,
you are there doing what we need you to do.
You are there because you want to serve and we are so
tremendously proud of you, and particularly tremendously proud
of those of you who have been to Afghanistan and who are looking
to go back; those who know that that fight has given us days of
sorrow, as well as days of reward, days of progress;
those of you who have shown fortitude and bravery,
no matter how tough it's got.
Thank you for your determination,
and we share your determination to see the mission through.
And last, but by no means least, President Obama is here because
he and I have been working to strengthen the great alliance
between our two countries, working to make sure that
the alliance lives anew in this place,
in the Northern Territory, by bringing 250 Marines here
initially, going to 2,500 Marines over a staged process,
so that shoulder-to-shoulder with our American friends we can
train with them, we can be with them to meet the contingencies
in our region.
We are conscious that when we talk about the
American-Australian alliance, when we talk about ANZUS,
really we're talking about you, because you are the ones who do
the heavy lifting, you are the ones that make this alliance
live, day in day out, through the work that you do.
We admire your sense of duty, we admire your courage,
we admire your experience, we admire the fact that you face
down adversity.
And the President of the United States of America is here to
tell you that himself - ladies and gentlemen, one and all,
President Obama.
(applause)
The President: Thank you!
(applause)
Hello, everybody!
Audience: Hello!
The President: How are you doing?
I know that you all have a great Australian cheer.
I want to hear it.
So let me say -- first -- Auzzy, Auzzy, Auzzy!
Audience: Auzzy, Auzzy, Auzzy!
The President: I enjoyed that.
(laughter)
It is great to be here at RAAF Darwin -- I mean, Dah-win.
(laughter)
I'm learning to speak "Strine."
(laughter)
The Prime Minister said that she wanted to show me Australia at
its best.
And she's right -- you all are all true blue.
So thank you, Julia, for bringing us together today,
for being such a great friend and champion of our alliance,
and for this visit to Australia, which I will remember forever.
It is good to be here in the Top End.
I thank the people of Darwin for the incredibly warm welcome.
And I'm proud to be the first U.S.
President ever to visit the Northern Territory.
(applause)
I want to begin by respectfully acknowledging the Traditional
Owners of this Land and their elders, past and present.
You are one of the world's oldest continuous cultures.
And I want you to know that your strength,
your dignity is an inspiration to me and
people all around the world.
I'm not going to give a big speech.
It's a little hot.
(laughter)
I already gave a big speech.
What I really want to do is spend a little
time shaking some hands.
Audience Members: Yes!
(applause)
The President: I'm not sure I'm going to be able to reach all
the way back there.
(laughter)
As the Prime Minister said, we're celebrating the 60th
anniversary of our great alliance.
And we couldn't think of a better group to do it
with than you.
All of you are the backbone of our alliance.
It's an honor to be here with Australia's legendary Diggers.
You are some of the toughest warriors in the world.
And so are another group of folks here today -- our
extraordinary United States Marines.
Marines: Ooh-rah!
(applause)
The President: Aussies and Americans like you have stood together since World
War I, the war in which so much of your national character was
born -- your incredible ANZAC Spirit.
But, in a sense, it was here, in Darwin,
where our alliance was born -- during
"Australia's Pearl Harbor."
Against overwhelming odds, our forces fought back,
with honor and with courage.
The Prime Minister and I just paid our respects at the
memorial to one of the ships lost that day -- the USS Peary.
And we looked out at those beautiful blue waters,
where so many Australians and Americans rest where
they fell, together.
The days after Darwin were tough.
Some thought Australia might fall.
But we dusted ourselves off.
We picked ourselves up.
We rebuilt.
And thanks to the extraordinary generation of troops,
we went on to victory -- in the Coral Sea and at Midway and at
Milne Bay.
When that war was won, and as another raged in Korea,
our countries forged a new alliance.
We pledged our "collective defense for the preservation
of peace and security."
And that's a promise we've kept ever since.
As I said in Parliament earlier today,
our alliance is rooted in the bonds between our people,
and the democratic values that we share and our commitment to
stand with each other through thick and through thin,
no matter what.
That includes Afghanistan.
I know many of you served there, including proud members of the
1st Brigade.
Like generations before you, you've lived and served
alongside your American colleagues -- day in
and day out.
You work together so well, it's often said you can't tell where
our guys end and you guys begin.
Today, I want to say thank you.
Thank you for a job well done.
Thank you for your incredible sacrifices.
Thank you for your families' sacrifices.
And welcome home.
(applause)
Others among you served in Iraq, and on dangerous missions around
the globe.
Among us today are families whose loved ones made the
ultimate sacrifice in today's wars.
This morning, the Prime Minister and I paid our respects at the
Australian War Memorial.
And in that magnificent space I saw the Roll of Honor,
with the names of your fallen heroes,
including those from Afghanistan.
And to their families, I say -- no words are sufficient for the
depth of your sacrifice.
But we will honor your loved ones by completing their
mission, by making sure Afghanistan is never again
used to attack our people.
And I am confident that we are going to succeed.
Now, here in Darwin and Northern Australia,
we'll write the next proud chapter in our alliance.
As the Prime Minister and I announced yesterday,
some of our Marines will begin rotating through these parts to
train and exercise with you, and to work as partners across
the region for the security we all want.
Today, on behalf of the American people,
I want to thank the people of this community for welcoming our
men and women in uniform.
We are grateful for your friendship and we are grateful
for your hospitality.
So we're deepening our alliance -- and this is the perfect place
to do it.
I know the training conditions around here are tough -- at
least that's what I've heard.
Big, open spaces.
Harsh weather.
Mozzies.
(laughter)
Snakes. Crocs.
(laughter)
In fact, I was just presented with the most unique gift I've
ever received as President -- crocodile insurance.
(laughter)
My wife, Michelle, will be relieved.
(laughter)
I have to admit that when we reformed health care in America,
crocodile insurance is one thing we left out.
(laughter)
But there's another reason we're deepening our alliance here.
This region has some of the busiest sea lanes in the world,
which are critical to all our economies.
And in times of crisis -- from the Bali bombings to East Timor
to relief after a tsunami -- Darwin has been a hub,
moving out aid, caring for victims,
making sure that we do right by the people of this region.
And that's what we're going to keep doing, together.
Going forward, our purpose is the same as it was 60 years ago
-- "the preservation of peace and security."
And in a larger sense, you're answering the question once
posed by the great Banjo Paterson.
Of Australia, he wrote, "Hath she the strength for the burden
laid upon her, hath she the power to protect and
guard her own?"
Well, generations of Australians -- and you,
its men and women in uniform -- have given your answer.
And America has been honored to stand with you,
as allies with an enduring commitment to human freedom.
On this 60th anniversary, we are saying together, proudly:
Yes, we have the strength for the burden laid upon us,
and we have the power to protect and guard our own,
here in the Asia Pacific and all around the world.
So thank you all for your extraordinary service.
And thank you for representing the very
best of our two countries.
God bless Australia.
God bless America.
And God bless the great alliance between our two peoples.
Thank you very much.
(applause)