Scott Morrison has given a touching tribute to volunteer firefighters families

After the “many moments of sadness” surrounding bushfires and COVID-19, Scott Morrison has opened up about his feelings towards Australia.  

Scott Morrison says he has never felt more proud of his country, as this “incredibly tough year” comes to a close.

After the devastating black summer bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc across the nation, the prime minister on Saturday opened up about the “many moments of sadness”.

“Australians will never forget all of those who serve so valiantly, our volunteer firefighters, and what they did for us during our black summer,” Mr Morrison said.

“I have never felt more proud of Australia as we draw to the end of this terrible year than I do now.”

More than 30 people lost their lives in the black summer bushfires. Picture: Gary Ramage

More than 30 people lost their lives in the black summer bushfires.

Deputy Captain Geoffrey Keaton, 32, was killed while fighting the Green Wattle Creek fire at Buxton in December 2019. Picture: Facebook

Deputy Captain Geoffrey Keaton, 32, was killed while fighting the Green Wattle Creek fire at Buxton in December 2019

Speaking at the opening of a memorial park for NSW volunteer firefighters Geoff Keaton and Andrew O’Dwyer – who died when their truck overturned near Buxton, southwest of Sydney, last year – Mr Morrison gave a touching tribute to the young fathers.

“I feel sad for the loss … but also I’m reaching out to that joy that is there for all of us to take in this wonderful playground,” he said.

“A place of pride, pride and the selflessness of Geoff and Andrew, pride in brigade and the community who have rallied here together.

“Children can heal us in a way that we can never understand or explain, and so this place will be a place of healing. It will be a place of peace of quiet reflection.”

The daughter of RFS volunteer Andrew O'Dwyer, Charlotte, wears her father’s helmet at his funeral after being presented with his service medal by then commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons. Picture: Dean Lewins/Getty Images

The daughter of RFS volunteer Andrew O'Dwyer, Charlotte, wears her father’s helmet at his funeral after being presented with his service medal by then commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons.

NSW RFS volunteer Andrew O'Dwyer was killed when the truck he was in overturned. Picture: Dean Lewins/Getty Images

NSW RFS volunteer Andrew O'Dwyer was killed when the truck he was in overturned.

Mr Morrison said he prayed “laughter and joy” would be found again in the lives of all of those affected.

“For many here, you did not get a Christmas last year, and again Christmas this year I’m sure will be difficult,” he said.

“There will be grief but also hopefully the joy of the wonderful message of Christmas for all of you.”

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