After spending several hours on Capital Hill in Canberra at Parliament House, we headed to the Australian War Memorial, a national shrine to Australians who have served or lost their lives in military conflict.
From the balcony of Parliament House you have a clear line of sight to the memorial, but getting there required a seven-minute taxi ride.
Admission is free and the memorial is open daily from 10AM to 5PM (closed only on Christmas Day).
The museum portion tells the story of Australian military history, with emphasis on efforts to “defend the Empire” in World War I and World War II.
The memorial features a beautiful courtyard with a reflecting pool in the center. Every evening at 4:55p, the Last Post Ceremony begins. This ceremony tells the story of one individual per day who is on the Roll of Honor (death in military service). It is a moving time in which men and women, young and old, stand somberly as a bagpipe plays and while flowers and wreaths are laid out.
Inside the dome is the Hall of Memory, which features a shared tombstone honoring the lives of those lost.
The Australian War Memorial should be part of your visit to Canberra. Whatever your view on war, this is a somber reminder of the human cost of armed conflict.