What’s pride in your country without pride in yourself?
As ANZAC Day [25th April] approaches we will hear the term “Lest We Forget” a lot. This phrase originates from the poem For the fallen (Laurence Binyon).
The forth stanza of this poem is often resited on ANZAC Day and at RSL Clubs, –
“”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””
The poem was originally written to honour the World War 1 British war dead, and in particular the British Expeditionary Force, which by then already had high casualty rates on the developing Western Front.
Over time, the fourth stanza of the poem was claimed as a tribute to all casualties of war, regardless of state.
The phrase Lest we forget is often added as a final line at the end of the ode and repeated in response by those listening, especially in Australia.
At 6 o’clock at the local RSL (Returned &Services league) we pause for a minute’s silence. We are asked to put our beer down, stop feeding the pokies and pause, face west where there is an homage plaque or memorial and listen respectfully as the Ode of Remembrance is resited. I enjoy this tradition.
It is a wonderful sign of respect and gratitude. And, as it says in The Ode it gives us a moment to remember the Fallen and everyone who has served honourably for our rights and freedoms. I have the greatest respect for everyone that has participated in armed conflict, or served bravely for our country. And, I am deeply saddened by the thought of all the loss of life during war. I have no personal connection to anyone who lost their life while in the armed forces, but, I will remember those who have.
Today however I also want to remember and honor everyone who has fought battles of a personal kind. I want to respectfully acknowledge everyone who has been bitten by the black dog or struggled with other internal demons.
According to support services such as Sane Australia and Beyond Blue;
Around 20% or one in five Australian adults are affected by some form of mental disorder or mental illness every year.
· Anxiety disorders affect around 14% of the adult population every year.
· Depression affects around 6% of the adult population every year.
· The remainder are affected by substance abuse disorders, psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia, personality disorders, and other conditions.
· Many people have more than one diagnosis.
· Around 3% of adults are psychiatrically disabled by the effects of mental illness.
· Some people are so severely affected by mental illness that they become psychiatrically disabled. Schizophrenia can be a particularly disabling condition for some: this is a persistent form of mental illness that affects approximately 1% of Australians at some stage in their lives.
These figures would indicate that we would all know someone who has in some way been affected by a mental health issue. It may be unnoticeable to an outside observer, someone with mild depression or fleeting anxiety may not have symptoms that can be seen by other people. However, we can often see, as much as we try to hide from it, the effects associated with someone suffering with the symptoms or affects of disorders such as bi-polar, personality disorders or psychotic episodes. We shun, shy away from, turn our heads, are sometimes afraid, and sometimes disgusted by someone displaying odd or outrageous behaviour – we deem them to have socially unacceptable behaviour. So, consequently a person with a mental illness or disorder often feels rejected or an outcast. It is this sense of social exclusion that can have the most damaging harm to someone who is already finding life difficult.
And, it is why I want to remember them.
People afflicted with mental illness are your average Aussie Battler, might be living on `struggle street`, a farmer, a famous musician or a high powered business man. Episodes of mental illness can come and go throughout a person’s life. Some people experience their mental illness only once and then fully recover. Unfortunately, only about half of those affected by mental illness receive treatment.
While there can be some very successful treatments for mental illness and disorders there is no cure.
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. In Australia, it is estimated that 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. In any one year, around 1 million Australian adults have depression, and over 2 million have anxiety.
While depression and anxiety are different conditions, it is not uncommon for them to occur at the same time. Over half of those who experience depression also experience symptoms of anxiety. In some cases, one can lead to the onset of the other.
In memory and in honour of everyone who has battled and fought with this disabling condition I acknowledge you.
Unfortunately too many people find the struggle too much and end their own life. There are many reasons or causes for suicide and mental ill-health can be a leading factor. I know suicide is a controversial subject and a topic that touches peoples deep emotions; but, it needs to be talked about.
And, to everyone who has found life just too hard – Lest We Forget
I know also many people think that suicide is a cowardly and selfish act.
This may be true, but, who are we to judge?
Other people say that suicide is brave, an act of desperation; maybe the only wway to end pain or suffering.
What ever our views on this dramatic act we all need to take time and consideration to question why and how life lives this way.
Suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide, particularly for children and young people aged 10 to 24 years. In Australia, there are more people who die through suicide than road accidents, skin cancer or homicide. Statistics show that there are approximately 2,200 deaths by suicide in Australia in any given year. In 2009, 259 suicides were recorded by young people aged 15 to 24 years. 
Sally Dastey and Dan Warner, eloquently and strongly voiced a view in their song Anthem (beautifully sung and made known by the girls in TIDDAS).
“”What’s pride in your country without pride in yourself?
Don’t sing me an anthem, “cause you don’t know the words.
Words are hard to remember, when they mean nothing at all.
To the hearts who’re still waiting, for their voice to be heard
Don’t sing me your anthem when your anthem’s absurd””
I share these lyrics here to highlight that many people in this
Lucky Country are feeling disconnected and disassociated.
I have the greatest respect for the paths of history that have led us to this place and time. That is why I think it is important to hold sacred events like ANZAC Day. The unquestionable bravery and sense of duty shown by everyone that has served in War is unmeasurable. The selfless hard work demonstrated by armed forces personnel to protect nations and to sometimes create nations is immense. I am deeply moved and very grateful when I see on TV images of soldiers and other support personnel helping to rebuild countries such as East Timor, or the unbelievably brave and heroic actions of the defence forces rescuing people after a natural disaster like the recent floods in Queensland.
And, it is for all these heroic and selfless acts – We Shall Remember Them.
So; yes lets honour and show gratitude to all Service Personnel past and present. And, acknowledge the great courageous work of the members of the military representing our country and protecting our freedom.
Raise a glass for a Digger !!
However, when you’re having that drink on ANZAC Day;
do it with respect and good grace.
Also; if you happen to be someone who finds that one drink is never enough,
but, one drink is one too many: then please take care.
Look after your mates !
Lets all look after one-another
And; Lest Not Forget
It is not to compare or to contrast – -I just simply want to also take a moment to reflect on the lives of those who struggle everyday.
It may not be heroic and it certainly is not brave in the sense of what it takes to fight in a war or hang from a helicopter to rescue somebody. But, for many unseen everyday people they are fighting an almighty internal struggle and it often takes a form of bravery just to continue and survive.
So; please lets remember them.
Thank you. – take care –
-prayers and best wishes .
If you are currently finding life tough at the moment or this story touched a nerve with you.
Remember one step at a time
Hopefully, we can change how people think about each other and care …
According to Sane Australia ;
SANE Australia is a national charity helping all Australians affected by mental illness lead a better life – through campaigning, education and research.
SANE conducts innovative programs and campaigns to improve the lives of people living with mental illness, their family and friends. It also operates a busy Helpline and website, which have thousands of contacts each year from around Australia.
Better Health Channel
 Kids Help-Line
Kids Helpline is a free, 24 hour counselling service for young people aged 5-25 years. Counselling is offered by phone, email and over the web.
Counsellors respond to more than 6,000 calls each week about issues ranging from relationship breakdowns and bullying, to sexual abuse, homelessness, suicidal thoughts, and drug and alcohol use.
The service aims to empower young people…..