The father of a Tasmanian veteran killed in Afghanistan has welcomed news remaining Australian troops will be withdrawn from duty, but says for the families of the 41 soldiers lost in the war, the pain will never go away.
Burnie-born Corporal Cameron Baird died in Afghanistan, killed by Taliban fighters during an ambush in June 2013.
Almost a year later, his parents Kaye and Doug Baird OAM accepted a Victoria Cross for Australia, awarded posthumously for Cameron's selfless actions - the highest award for bravery in wartime and our country's highest honour.
Today, the Baird family and friends continue to honour his legacy through Cam's Cause - a charity which aims to raise awareness and "much needed" funds for solider welfare.
Since its formation about four years ago, the charity has already raised more than $700,000.
"It's an enormous thing when you consider that Cam's Cause is made up of Cameron's former primary school teacher and three of his mates," Doug Baird said.
"They all have young families, and do this on a voluntary basis. But it's making a real difference I believe."
Last week Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the 80 Australian troops remaining in Afghanistan would be withdrawn by September, in line with the withdrawal of US troops as announced by President Joe Biden.
Hearing the news Mr Baird said it was expected, but there were still many questions about what it would mean.
"Normally, unfortunately, Australia follows America. Once that decision was made it was only a matter of time our government would make that announcement," he said.
"It was always going to be an endless war. It was Australia's longest war in history and was never going to get a result as such.
"In regards to Cameron, he was just one of 41 who was killed. Some were killed in action, some not. So what price does the country pay for their freedom."
Cameron joined the army at 18. An avid sportsman, many thought he was destined for a professional AFL career, when a shoulder injury altered his course.
Reflecting on his son's involvement in Afghanistan, Mr Baird said he could still remember a conversation they shared many years ago.
"He [Cameron] really believed that what they were doing over there was the right thing," Mr Baird said.
"He honestly believed they were keeping the terrorists out of Australia. It was still happening in other parts of the world, but not Australia.
"Now with the withdrawal ... myself and all the other parents will say the same thing - it's not going to replace their son. It's a terrible loss, but one we need to accept, move on and live our lives as best we possibly can."
Now living in Queensland, Mr Baird will spend Anzac Day in Tasmania. On Saturday, he tossed the coin at the Corporal Cameron Baird medal state league match in Burnie, where he will also attend commemorations today.
While Anzac Day is always a significant, Mr Baird said it would be extra special to be able to reunite with old friends while in Tasmania.
"Anzac Day in Burnie will be a major event for us, from the point of view that it will touch a few tender spots," he said.
"We will meet people we haven't seen for a while, and get to tell the story again. The legacy Cameron has left behind, it's very important for us to continue that."
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