And is “celebrate” the right word here?
Anzac Day is special. It’s a day of remembrance for thesacrifices of the past, of the young people who gave their lives in service tothe nation. It’s more accurate to say we commemorateAnzac Day, which is the anniversary of a group of Australian and New Zealandsoldiers landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915, in the hope of knockingthe Turks out of WWI.
For various reasons, that did not happen. By December, theAllied troops had suffered heavy casualities and began to withdraw. This wasn’tsome glorious Aussie victory that we decided to choose as the day we honour ourservicepeople. And that’s why Anzac Day isn’t a time for fist-pumping,chest-beating and yelling that Australia is the greatest nation on the planet. It’snot about glorifying battle or romanticising warfare.
Outside of the inevitable pub two-up circle, it’s a serious andsombre day.
Anzac Day first became a thing in the 1920s, and by the mid-30swe already had the dawn vigil, memorial services, marches and so on.As we’ve talked about before, the nature of the commemoration has shifted overtime. Of course, nowadays it isn’t about what happened on a Middle Easternbeach more than a century ago. Anzac Day is a time for reflection on thesacrifices made by military personnel in service to their country, in all wars.A time to reflect on what war means, and what it does.
Above all, it’s about keeping the memory of those peoplealive – continuing to recognise that the ones who died on the battlefield willnever grow old. That their lives were sacrificed for the rest of us.
In the end, it all boils down to three words:
LEST WE FORGET.
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