What was every friend's death back then but a shouted admission that there was a fault with society. In its heart something was not right.
Twenty years on, I remember all the burials, the late night phone calls advising of another one gone, and I wonder how I did not see it then?
For what is the death of society's youngest other than a failing of society?
I live in a time of stillborn peace talks, a time when a quarter million cables evidencing a foreign power's total disregard for due process is barely news.
I have survived the bugle call of death that pulled so many in, so what have I but a duty to remember them and why they died.
You would be told they died because they were greedy, selfish and stupid.
But to know just one of them was to know that is a lie. They did not die because of greed or selfishness, they died because of lost hope and barren futures. Because they did not believe the promises lied to them from birth by those more interested in securing a seat for themselves at some fictitious table of prosperity, than doing the job they had been elected to do - serving Australians
Heather, Mal, Byron, Rod, Katie, Guy, Winston - I remember you tonight