Can we mention The War ?
The 25th April is ANZAC Day; Australia’s national day, a day, an event most Australians value and hold dear. It is a day surrounded in great symbolism built on might, bravery and myth. It is a day that commemorates an event that is thought to have forged a Nation. Interestingly, it is not Australia’s official `National Day` when we celebrate founding or colonizing the new nation which would become the federation of Australia; this National Day is Australia Day (26th January).
Australia Day and ANZAC Day are acknowledged and recognised in very different ways. Generally ANZAC Day is revered and thought of respectfully.
We might not all attend Dawn Service or go to the RSL and play two-up, but, I do think that most Australians do take a moment to consider the great loss and hardships spawn by war. Australia Day is generally on the most part seen as a big party, and as with all parties where alcohol is the key element there can often be unfortunate side-effects, (this is another conversation for different time).
On ANZAC Day and its build up 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.
What is it we are remembering, and urged not to forget?
Obviously; it is those who have Fallen as a result of a supreme sacrifice.
I would also like us to remember, not in a glorified, or gratuitous way the horrors and traumas of war and armed conflict. let us not forget the horrific toll it takes on all participants, combatants and innocent civilians. Let us take this time to acknowledge the often very brutal realities of war. Australians are aware of the heroic deeds of the Aussie Diggers at Gallipoli and how naïve the young boys were who set off on their grand adventure. What a bloody and deadly adventure this became for thousands of men of many nations.
With all we now know of these landmark historic events we need to learn from them. While the wars Australians are now currently involved in are much smaller in scale to those of the World Wars and to those of many conflicts battling in many locations at this time, there are still horrific and tramatic events happening daily.
And, we will remember them.
I know in these modern enlightened times we do not send the men and women of Our defence forces into areas of armed conflict lightly or without great thought and due consideration. I sincerely hope this is the case and the honest truth. We can not allow the mistakes of the past to be repeated.
Lets not let the sun go down to leave us in the dark.
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.