I was planning on having the long weekend off my blog, but after a fairly emotional morning I just need to vent.
I don’t attend the dawn services on Anzac day. I used to when I was much younger, but I find it too embarrassing now, because given the amount of blubbering I do, you’d think my entire family has just been destroyed by the enemy. Meanwhile, those old men and women who have LIVED through wars totally keep it together. So I wait and watch the delayed telecast on TV, keeping my excessive tears to myself.
I realise I’m not alone with the emotion factor, and absolutely – the bugle player generates many watery eyes. But just watching an old man with a chest full of medals place a wreath, or watching a young soldier salute … it’s all too much, and so in the same way those who get easily scared avoid horror movies, I avoid the service.
We did go to watch the march – and my daughter got very excited by the music and the horses… and I kept my sunglasses on, and my tissues out… Seriously – it’s just a bunch of dudes in uniform marching up the street to the St Kilda theme song…. Why Cindy, Why?
I LOVE that there is still an enormous amount of reverence and respect in this country for our soldiers, especially those who fought and died in battles – It’s their lost lives that allows us the freedom we enjoy today, and that warrants the utmost respect – does it not??
Being a day of remembrance – we remember them and celebrate our freedom. Understandably – the celebrations come in all forms, like watching the footy or going on a picnic, or participating in older traditions like 2-up and a beer at the pub. Pubs know this – and cash in.
Here’s a couple of pub’s promo for Anzac Day: (Note – I’ve erased the venue names)
Here is another I came across:
Does anyone know the ‘heimlich maneuver’ because I’m choking on my banana bread. Seriously? Was the graphic designer smoking the reefer when he created this? I mean ok, sex sells – but this is ridiculous – a perfect example of cheapening something ceremonious with innuendos and smut.
Do you think this girl is remembering the Anzacs? I think she’s trying to say, “Come here lover boy, I’ll show you my gun if you show me yours…” Ech! Bad taste? Looking at this poster is for me is like eating a bowl of pigs feet.
Or is this just a bit of fun. I’m not sure… Perhaps I should ask my dad. He’s a lieutenant colonel in the army and actually, now that I think about it – he’d probably find this a little classless but fairly harmless. But I wonder if his father, and uncles, and their fathers who also served, some of whom died fighting…. What would they think? It’s them that we are remembering today – not the cadets running around who will probably be pissed by 1pm. It’s not their day – and it won’t ever be unless they get their heads blown off at war.
(UPDATE: I have been led to believe from valid comments that Anzac Day is everyone’s day and how a digger chooses to celebrate is his business. My belief was that today is a day to remember the Anzacs, but I now see it’s a way for all Australians to recognise their freedom no matter whos hands and sacrifice have led to that freedom.)
I’m not sure if it is because of my ancestry’s devotion to the military, or hearing of my dad’s army trips away where he ‘trained’ to kill the enemy that makes me feel respect for all soldiers. I used to wonder what would happen if there was a war – would my dad have to go? What if he died? Luckily he’s a bit too old for the fighting end of war now and his age places him nicely at the strategic end of things. (Sorry dad if you’re reading…)
But it IS reality – especially for many people in my home town of Darwin. The military makes up 15% of the population. Might not seem like much, but their presence here is undeniable – particularly on days like today. And I look at them with honour and pride and gratitude because they work and train hard. They sacrifice a lot.
Some might argue that they get paid well, and yes – it’s their CHOICE to be in the army or navy, or airforce…. But imagine if there weren’t young men or women making that choice. Conscription?
Many of the soldiers we are remembering today HAD NO CHOICE. Mandatory military service was made Australian law from 1903 – 1929 and then again from 1939 – 1943 during the second world war.
Which leads me back to TODAY. In the dark dawn of this day in 1915 Australian troops made a landing on a hostile shore along the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. They dared mightily and hundreds were slaughtered.
If you haven’t seen the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan – you should. I believe this is what war was like before the age of missiles and bombs and weapons of mass destruction.
If you have seen it – then think about it for a minute. Because I think it’s not too different from what the Anzacs experienced. So we should remember them how they would want to be remembered – for how they fought like lions for their country, stuck by their friends and did their duty but died mercilessly.
Now look back at that poster. Am I over reacting? Being too emotional?
Puh! It’s highly likely.