Posted by: peterhact | April 18, 2010

Long weekend approaches. Or, Anzac Day is coming.

I was speaking to a couple of colleagues last week about the upcoming long weekend, and the day of remembrance on the Sunday. They were more concerned that the shops were shut, and that their mates who worked in the clubs and pubs were looking forward to Anzac Day – they made a lot of cash working public holidays.

It made me think. What do the new residents of Australia, some of which came from the countries that Australia fought against in the many conflicts over the years think of Anzac day? Is it just an inconvenience, with the shops shut, or a chance to make some extra cash off the drinking habits of the veterans who catch up with the dwindling numbers of mates to spin yarns, play two-up and remember the ones that they would never drink with again?

When you ask many Australians about Anzac day, and many New Zealanders  too, you will hear about remembering the young men who fought in the 1st or 2nd world wars, keeping us safe at home, whilst their blood was spilt in foreign lands. You will hear about every soldier – men and women who put their lives on the line to defend Australia and New Zealand every day, and follow the orders of their commanders. Some people are against the conflicts that we are currently involved in, but they understand that this is not the fault of our soldiers, sailors or airmen. They are trained for a job, and they are doing their jobs. And we are proud of them, we all know a friend or family member who is serving, or served in the prior conflicts.

We can believe that war is wrong, we can believe that the cure for cancer, the invention of the most amazing computers or any one of a hundred other things died when a young man or woman died in the line of fire. But on Anzac day, the day isn’t to promote war, it is to celebrate the fact that there are some people out there who stand up for us, our country and our values.

I could go to the coast for the weekend, but I cannot pay tribute to my grandfathers, great uncles, friends and mates there. My kids are already interested in what great grandpa did when he was a young man, and I am telling them – edited of course, they aren’t 12 yet. They know that both my grandfathers fought to keep Australia safe in world war 2, and, although war is bad, as is all fighting, they did what they were told by the government.

They know I will never leave the Australian shores to fight overseas, If the conflict comes here, I will join up to defend, but I am not going to go chasing a fight.

So what does Anzac Day mean for you? is it a day of reflection, remembrance, and celebration that we had brave souls who did their “bit” for the country? Or is it just a long weekend?

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Peter Holland. Peter Holland said: Long weekend approaches. Or, Anzac Day is coming. http://bit.ly/a3E2a6 […]


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