Today is an important day in the Australian calendar, Anzac Day.
A national day of remembrance initially established to recognise those who formed part of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli during World War One. Today the day is broadened to recognise and commemorate all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peace keeping operations.
This national holiday recognises the significant contribution and sacrifice they have made or are currently making to keep Australians and others safe from harm.
Australians hold the imagery of the Anzac close to their hearts, identifying this character as a core part of the Australian identity representing mateship and sacrifice. The day however is not without its critics, those who have been lobbying for recognition such as the Vietnam Veterans, women, Non-Anglo Australians and the indigenous. Or those who struggle to find comfort in this day which glorifies war.
But it seems we are slowly finding the balance. Being able to, in 2018, hold this day sacred and draw greater meaning which in turn enables a more inclusive embrace of our growing diverse nation.
The ANZAC requiem symbolic of this, suitably adapted to recognise this is a day for all Australians. This copy taken from http://www.rslvic.com.au/commemoration/ anzac-day:
“On this day above all days we recall those who served in war and who did not return to receive the grateful thanks of the nation.
We remember those who still sleep where they were left – amid the holly scrub in the valleys and the ridges of Gallipoli – on the rocky and terraced hills of Palestine – and in the lovely cemeteries of France.
We remember those who lie asleep in ground beneath the shimmering haze of the Libyan Desert – at Bardia, Derna, Tobruk – and amid the mountain passes and olive groves of Greece and Crete, and the rugged, snow-capped hills of Lebanon and Syria. We remember those who lie buried in the rank jungle of Malaya and Burma – in New Guinea – and in the distant isles of the Pacific.
We remember those who lie buried amid loving friends in our Motherland and in our own far North.
We remember those who lie in unknown resting places in almost every land, and those gallant men whose grave is the unending sea. Especially do we remember those who died as prisoners of war, remote from their homeland, and from the comforting presence of their kith and kin.
We thank of those of our women’s services who gave their lives in our own foreign lands and at sea, and of those who proved to be, in much more than name, the sisters of our fighting men.
We recall, too, the staunch friends who fought beside our men on the first ANZAC Day – men of New Zealand who helped to create the name of ANZAC.
We recall of those who gave their lives in the Royal Navy, the British Army, the Royal Air Force, the Merchant Service and in other British and Dominion Forces, and we think of those British men and women who fell, when, for the second time in history, their nation and its kindred stood alone against the overwhelming might of an oppressor; we think of every man and woman who in those crucial hours died so that the lights of freedom and humanity might continue to shine.
We think of those gallant men and women who died in Korea, Malaya, Borneo, Vietnam, and in Peacekeeping Forces assisting to defend the Commonwealth and other countries of the Free World, against a common enemy.
May these all rest proudly in the knowledge of their achievement, and may we and our successors in that heritage prove worthy of their sacrifice.”
If you are travelling locally and would like to learn more about the sacrifice of local men and women during war time we recommend you visit the Vietnam Veterans Walk in Seymour. Located a rough 15 minute drive South of Nagambie.
While this site is not specifically ANZAC, it is a beautiful commemorative display in a town which has a proud military history. The walk is a meandering red earth path set in native trees and grasses that resemble rubber trees and rice paddies. It is the first of its kind in Australia, dedicated to Vietnam Veterans. Created using symbolic elements of Vietnam and over 60,000 names of every serviceman & servicewoman who served in the conflict are listed.
It is a site worth visiting on your way to Nagambie.
We hope your ANZAC day is a reflective one and thank those past and present for their sacrifice.