The ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) tradition, celebrated on April 26th each year, goes beyond just the bloody and failed landing at Gallipoli in 1915. It is a day where the country honours all Australians who served in war, both the living and the dead.
The men and women, whether drafted by a desperate Government or choosing to confront a menacing foe were willing to lay down their lives at the country’s call. They’ve gone our, again and again, to endure hardship, death and loss for civilians, abroad or at home.
They knew what the cost could be to themselves and to those they loved, but they went anyway. Though fearful they may have been they went with resolve that was sacrificial. They went to defend their country and to watch over their mates in the ranks.Some of them came home, but war leaves its mark nevertheless.
My grandfather served during World War 2 and was one of those who got to return home. In my young memory I remember him speaking of it only a handful of times, a comical story here or there of young men being larrikins and subsequent missing jeeps. On one or two occasions he spoke seriously about the war for a few minutes before his eyes would tear up and the conversation would end abruptly.
No one should have to endure the ravages of war, witness the horrors or the loss. But living in reality, some inevitably must.
We owe it to our “diggers”, currently serving, that they get the best in training and equipment. And when they leave the service, through injury or age we should continue to honour them by looking after them well and holistically.
In a time when the Australian fiscal position has probably never been worse, I understand it is hard politically.
Our priority should be on safeguarding those who safeguarded us.