I started to draft this on ANZAC Day, but never got around to finishing it….
This year I went to Little D’s school and did the ANZAC Day address. It was great to have the opportunity, I wrote my address about what ANZAC Day means to me and how it is important to my family. Frustratingly I got my times mixed up so arrived late and therefore flustered. I was so angry with myself I was cursing the whole the drive there. But it went ok. I got some lovely feedback from some of the other parents, which made me feel better.
I don’t normally wear uniform for ANZAZC Day. My Great-Grandfather was awarded the Military Medal in France in 1916, and when I wear my uniform we are not permitted to wear medals other than your own (there are lots of rules around uniform, this is just one of them). So generally I prefer getting to wear civvies, so I can wear his medals, with mine, with pride. People still look surprised when they see me with them, I am sure it is just because I am female? Or maybe it is being female and that I have Little D and Little L in tow with me? I’m not sure.
For the school address I polished up my Same Browne belt, got the uniform looking good and could wear it without fear of looking ridiculous. Nothing was too tight and in fact – my pants were a little too big. Which is awesome, I am the same or smaller than when I joined up. Little D got to wear her Great-great-Grandfathers medals – she was so careful of them it was lovely to see.
ANZAC Day is really special for me. To me it is more significant than Australia Day and something I think we, as a nation (not to mention the Kiwis), can be really proud of. My family has history with the military, obviously my Great Grandfather, my Dad is a Vietnam Veteran, then Big D and I are both currently serving. I am very protective of the day and get frustrated with the media coverage. I think aligning football players with those who have gone of to war is insulting to the ANZAC’s memory and sacrifice, being mates on a footy field and making a tackle to protect the ball, doesn’t equate to putting yourself in front of a Turkish machine gun. But that is just me.
In the past couple of years I have had a few people say ‘Happy ANZAC Day’? To which I respond with ‘WTF’?? Holy crap, where has that come from? It downplays the significance of the day. Sure people don’t go to work, but it isn’t a public ‘holiday’, it is a day of remembrance, commemoration and recognition of sacrifice. Lets not forget what the day is for. As those who started the tradition have passed on, those of us who remain have an obligation to keep the day true to its intention. To me that is paying your respects to the sacrifice and service of all those who serve, but mostly those who have served and not returned or returned not themselves. As time passes on those numbers are becoming greater and I imagine will continue to do so for some time to come.
As I child I attended many a Dawn Service and I see it as a right of passage for all Australian children. As my career has continued it has become a more personal affair with some of my own friends lost on Service. A number of them have been killed through tragic error or oversight by other nations militaries and it breaks my heart that those responsible for their deaths will never be held accountable. But that is probably a blog for another time.
Even though I am posting this much later than the day I intended:
Lest we forget.