The world of today is a very different place from what it was just a few months ago. A single event has changed everything to a new reality. This means, we can never return to what it used to be like. We have experienced untold community and personal suffering. People have died and sadly, will continue to die for the foreseeable future. Yet, such times are not totally unprecedented in history. Humanity has experience even more challenging times and emerged triumphantly.
In these uncertain times we can look back in history for inspiration on how to deal with the challenges and the positives they can provide. On the 25th of April 1915 Australian and New Zealand troops (ANZACs) began their first engagement in what was euphuistically known as ‘the war to end all wars’. It wasn’t, and the senseless waste of life continues in conflicts to this day. However, if you look past the politics, if you look past the military decisions and implementations, you find individuals who lives that were utterly changed the day they stepped ashore in a foreign land to fight what they, rightly or wrongly, believed.
It wasn’t long before such innocence gave way to the stark realities and horrors of war. A war that would continue for three more years but yet see these ANZAC troops distinguish themselves in places like northern France and Belgium amongst unimaginable human carnage, death and devastation. Even when the horrors of the war ceased in November 1918, many faced the confrontation of the Spanish Flu pandemic that raged for an additional three years, encompassing the globe and taking more lives than the War had.
Few of us today can appreciate the experiences of fighting in a World War and then having to live through a global pandemic. Yet they did. Not all survived unscathed but those that did rebuilt the world that we enjoy today. Even with challenges of the day, we are lucky. Never forget that things could always be worse and be thankful for what you have rather than desiring what may no longer be possible. Remember many have given the ultimate sacrifice to provide the life you enjoy.
We pause and reflect on the sacrifices of those who serve. Not just those in the military past and present, but also first responders, doctors, nurses and others on the front line of the public medical battles we face today. Many of these are demonstrating the resolve, compassion and dedication evidenced by previous generations, including the ANZAC forces.
For many, ANZAC day today is a new experience. Hopefully, it is something we will never have to experience again in our lifetime. Circumstances dictate that we need to largely remember as individuals rather than in groups. However, that should not diminish the hope that such remembrances provide. It should not diminish the resolution and focus on others that people like the ANZACs demonstrated during their many trials. In the end, they did what they did for their ‘mates’. That, should be our inspiration and take away from ANAZAC day 2020. Let’s honour our heroes but pulling together as a community and doing so for our ‘mates’. They did what they did for others, so should we.
Lest We Forget
If you want to learn more about the ANZAC battlefields in northern France, visit my web site – www.anzacsinfrance.com.