Today we take a moment to commemorate ANZAC day here in Australia. It is probably the one day that truly unites unites Australia. This is largely due to it harking back to a time when Australia came together as a nation for the first time. The benefit of historical hindsight may question the value of that military action all those years ago but the core values that came from that are what should be celebrated. It cemented the bond between unknown individuals who came together in truly terrifying circumstance to survive, flourish and in many ways, give birth to a nation on the back of their commitment to each other.
The actions all those years ago, across many battlefronts, brought many Australians face to face with other Australians they would have probably never met had the circumstances been different. It thrust them into life and dead experiences that many would have never expected. It thrust the average Australian into circumstances that would truly demonstrated man’s inhumanity to man. Yet, through all this adversity, Australians began to forge a bond, a concept of mateship, that lives on today.
This is something that perhaps we now need more than ever as we face an uncertain and divided world. The past few years have seen many live through life changing and unexpected circumstances that have irrevocably altered our community and the world. They have perhaps, cemented the fragility of life in people’s mind and hopefully made them appreciate how truly lucky we are every day. Our celebration today should look to the example these people provided us all those years ago.
Of course, not everyone is lucky. As with that day back in 1915, many paid the ultimate price and had their lives cut sort by simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A unique fact about Australian troops throughout World War One was that they were a total volunteer force. Each one, chose to be there. Many chose to remain, through the horrors of war, to be with their mates and do what they could for each other above all else. Today we also remember those in our community that continue to live and demonstrate that spirit to service.
This is the sacrifice and commitment we honour today. It is about what people do for others. It is about what people did that they thought was right. It is about what people did for what they believed was the greater good. You can judge their motives and ideals through the lens of history but you can’t question their devotion to each other and to their commitment. Today, we celebrate their devotion to each other.
Their hope, after enduring war, was that no one else would have to go through the same experience. The ‘war to end all all wars’ as it was known, sadly did not eventuate. That failure lies on the shoulders of modern society, who do not readily learn the lessons of history. Who lets their world view become full of negativity, impatience, violence and revenge all too readily. We should take a leaf from our ANZAC forebears and focus on what is truly important, our mates.
Lest We Forget
If you want to learn more about the ANZAC battlefields in northern France, visit my web site – www.anzacsinfrance.com.