Across the nation, services for National Police Remembrance Day will be held this Friday to pay tribute to the brave souls who have laid down their lives in the line of duty. Among those being remembered are two young constables tragically gunned down during the heartrending Wieambilla shooting last December.
In the solemn observance slated for the year 2023, the names of constables Rachel McCrow, Matthew Arnold, and Anthony Woods will be etched onto the National Police Memorial Wall, an act borne not of pleasure, but of mournful respect and remembrance.
Constables McCrow and Arnold of the Queensland Police Service met their untimely demise while investigating a missing persons case. Their lives were abruptly extinguished in the horrific Wieambilla shooting. Sadly, they walked into a pitiless ambush orchestrated by Gareth, Stacey, and Nathaniel Train, conspiracy theorists who opened fire on the unsuspecting officers at a property located in the Darling Downs, roughly 300km west of Brisbane.
A combined statement released by the McCrow and Arnold families referred to the late constables as “bright, brave, thoughtful and kind.” The statement went on to reveal the softer side of these tough cops: loyal friends, a loving daughter, a dedicated son – all qualities that greatly impacted those around them.
Amid the heartache, their families wish to express their profound gratitude on National Police Remembrance Day for the outpouring of kindness they received since their tragic loss in December 2022, a date they described as “the evil day our worlds shattered, and lives changed forever.”
On a separate note, the commemoration will also pay respect to Western Australia Police Force Constable Anthony Woods, who succumbed to injuries sustained during an arrest in June. Allegedly struck by a stolen car in Perth’s Ascot, Woods bore his critical injuries with fortitude.
AFP commissioner Reece Kershaw alluded to the National Police Remembrance Day as a crucial moment to honor the selfless sacrifices of fallen officers. He then conveyed his deepest wish for the National Police Memorial Wall to remain as it is, untouched, an echo of a past where grief can be contained. The addition of the three names – Matthew Arnold, Rachel McCrow, and Anthony Woods – he asserted, was a distressing reality.
In anticipation of this significant day, stirring images of the three officers were displayed onto the façade of Canberra’s National Carillon monument, a moving gesture of respect and remembrance.
Marking the culmination of the day, law enforcement personnel from various Australian policing jurisdictions will march from the AFP headquarters in Barton, all the way to the National Police Memorial in Kings Park near Russell. This dedication seeks to honor the men and women in blue who have either been killed in duty or passed away as a result of their duties since the inception of policing in Australia.
By the end of the ceremony, the Memorial Wall will bear a total of 826 names, including the three heart-rending additions on Friday.
In a final nod to the law enforcement community, Australia’s political leaders Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and opposition leader Peter Dutton also offered tributes, celebrating the unwavering spirit of those who uphold law and order, protecting and serving their communities with unparalleled dedication and compassion.