TERRI Irwin paid tribute to her late husband Steve in memorable fashion yesterday.
She became an official Aussie.
With Steve Irwin Day in full swing yesterday, Terri, an American by birth, surprised the 5000-plus crowd by being naturalised in the Crocuseum.
With children Bindi and Robert at her side, she pledged her allegiance to the nation she has called home for almost 20 years.
“I feel like I just got married,” Terri gushed as she punched the air in jubilation.
To celebrate their newly true-blue mum, Bindi and Robert led the singing of Advance Australia Fair, while members of the “khaki army” throughout the Crocuseum waved thousands of little Aussie flags.
Throughout the service neither Terri, nor the children, mentioned Steve, the iconic wildlife warrior who was killed by a stingray barb on September 4, 2006.
He was 44.
This year’s event was the third Steve Irwin Day, an international day of celebration to honour the boy from Beerwah’s memory, raise funds for the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors and promote wildlife conservation.
In a statement Terri said it was important for people all over the world to remember and honour what Steve stood for.
“He always believed that family came first and was passionate about standing strong as a wildlife warrior,” she said.
“He lived his life fighting to protect wildlife and wild places. Now we must continue his work.”
The day also marked the first anniversary of the zoo’s Australian Wildlife Hospital.
Over the past year more than 6300 animals have been treated at the facility, including about 700 koalas, 2500 birds and 300 freshwater and marine turtles.
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