116 DAYS OF CYCLING

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Photos: Mark Graham

ON TARGET INTO CANBERRA FOR 11TH NOVEMBER 2016 REMEMBRANCE DAY CEREMONY AND WELCOME BY THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA GENERAL THE HONOURABLE SIR PETER COSGROVE AK MC (RET’D) AND LADY COSGROVE.
 
Arrived in Canberra on the best weather day since the beginning of The Long Ride Home. Federal Police were on hand to escort me from Old Parliament House to New Parliament House to be met by Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan, and our ride Patron, former Governor-General and CO of SASR Major General Mike Jeffrey AC, CVO, MC (Ret’d), and other interested dignitaries including ex-Defence Minister Kevin Andrews and MP Angus Campbell, a Rhodes Scholar and keen cyclist himself. Also to hand were camera crews and journalists from the Canberra Press Gallery seeking an update on the ride from kick-off at the Australian Embassy in Hanoi on 12th May through to this key stopover point before the run into Sydney.
 
Interview highlights included new government initiatives relating to war veterans and early prevention and care for PTSD sufferers from Minister Tehan and a very strong response by General Jeffery.
 
Day 2 in Canberra saw us at a very impressive Remembrance Day service at the Australian War Memorial, where former Victorian Premier and founding Beyondblue Chairman Jeffrey Kennett AC, a one-time Army officer himself, called for war on veteran suicide in a very strong Remembrance Day Address before the Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Ret’d), Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and a large turnout of military and diplomatic representatives, school children and members of the general public. I urge you to ponder Mr Kennett’s message at www.awm.gov.au/talks-speeches/remembrance-day-address-2016
 
Rounding off a truly memorable day for me and my children in from New Zealand was a Remembrance Day afternoon tea put on especially for The Long Ride Home by the Governor-General at Government House, where a large group of team members, friends and senior VIPs including two former CDFs - Admiral Chris Barrie AC, FAICD, FAIM, FARPI, RAN (Ret’d) and Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Ret'd) – turned out to hear entertaining and heartfelt speeches by Sir Peter and Mike Jeffery about the ride and our cause.
 
No one was left wondering about the deep concern these men have for the twin issues of veteran suicide and trauma-related mental injury and I was left in no doubt that the pain of cycling the 10,000km over the past six months was worth every stroke of the pedal. As I said at Government House, I will continue on until there is total victory over PTSD.
 
On behalf of our Long Ride Home Patron and The Long Ride Home team thank you to all concerned for the success of the ride’s visit to our National Capital.
 
Truck on the long ride home.