25 April 2009
Many argue that the Gallipoli campaign was where Australia forged it's identity as a nation, and I would tend to agree. However, this leads to the quintessential question for most Australians; What makes us Australian and how do we become Australian?
Anzac Day has always had a special place for me since I was a youngster. Yet, it has taken on more significance I think since my younger brother, Brad, joined the Australian Navy. We owe a great debt of gratitude to those who dedicate themselves to the service and protection of others.
I am as anti-war as can be. I do not believe in war, I do not see it as a means to resolving conflicts, and I specially do not see it as a means of achieving lasting peace. Nevertheless, there are those who dedicate themselves to ensuring that conflict and war is a part of our existence and until the forces of good overcome those dedicated to the perpetuation of evil then this will surely be our lot. Yet, I digress from the point.
Anzac Day has taken on much greater significance for many Australians and the fact that we trek across many continents in our thousands to get to Gallipoli and places on the Western Front such as Fromelles, Pozieres, Bullecourt, Dernancourt, and Villers-Bretonneux to name but a few is testament to the increased awareness that we have as a nation of the sacrifices of our fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers, and our mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers too.
This post is not intended to be a history lesson. If you want that there are plenty of good sites you can check out for yourselves. I found one here, but a simple Google search with the terms Anzac Day history will get you about 1.4 million hits.
The Ode of Remembrance from the poem "For the Fallen by English Poet Laurence Binyon best says what must be remembered:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.
It is the young men and women who sacrificed so much, including their lives, so that the rest of us could live in relative peace.
The photo of Anzac Cove is courtesy of this site and can be found there.