As always, Anzac Day is highly conflicted for me. I had two grandfathers who served in WW2 in North Africa, the Middle East & Papua New Guinea & who thankfully both came home. I had a great grandfather & a great great uncle who fought in the trenches of France & one came home & one did not. I had another great grandfather who served with the Light Horse in Egypt & Palestine. He also came home. So the Anzac mythos is strong on both sides of my family. It is personal. However, at the same time, I find much of Anzac Day tokenistic* & backward-looking. See below for my reasoning.
*Though there is something very communal & positive about the #AnzacAtHome & #DrivewayAtDawn movement as a result of COVID-19 which I like immensely. Perhaps this could be one of the ways forward, followed by street parties all over the country.
the Anzac spirit
beware: today’s the day you’re most
likely to catch Anzacspiritus flu
an insidious disease that claims men
fighting on Gallipoli beaches
& trenches of the Western front
somehow forged our young nation’s
nature with five distinctive qualities:
mateship, humour, courage,
ingenuity, & endurance.
my perennial question —
how 256,000 men who rarely
spoke of their experiences
influenced the entirity of Australian
society’s then five millions
that said, i don’t begrudge a nation
built on these tenets
they’re a reasonable list — though
you wonder if they’re not in fact
lacking somewhat. maybe: compassion,
cooperation, freedom, security & equity
could be added.
but instead of simply praising them
this one day of the year
let’s actually live by them.
there wasn’t much mateship going round
when toilet paper was being hoarded
& supermarket shelves stripped;
nor courage when it came to attacking
fellow citizens simply because they look
like where our current virus is from.
thankfully though our GSOH
has been highly evident through countless
memes, TP workout routines, etc.
my request is — if any politician
from the Prime Minister down
to your local council member
wants to cash in on the gungho glory
of Anzac then they need to spread
those five+ tenets to every decision
they make throughout the year.
let’s start using our brave, heroic,
foolish, flawed Diggers never ending
sacrifices to heal, to look forward,
instead of always behind …