I will make sure they understands the weight of this day and why it is so much more than a simple anniversary.
Today, my 94-year-old grandfather is in Gallipoli.
A trip that was five years in the planning, being present for the 100th anniversary of Allied troops landing in what’s now ANZAC Cove was one that he, himself a WWII veteran, felt he had to make.
My little boy is only two and the occasion will pass barely noticed for him as he carries out his daily routine of exploration, demanding snacks and binge watching Octonauts. But in the years to come, even after his Great Pop is gone, I will make sure he understands the weight of this day and why it is so much more than a simple anniversary. These are the things I want him to know:
Those men fought so that you could play without fear in the sunshine.
Our fast paced younger generation might find it hard to connect the grainy pictures of men in slouch hats with anything that could possibly apply to their lives. It was those men, however, in that war and the ones that have followed, who made the ultimate sacrifice so that their descendents could live in the country that we continue to call lucky.
Women were heroes too.
They may not have been on the front lines, but women’s roles in war have been every bit as important. When men were called to enlist it was women who also leapt into action, volunteering as nurses with little knowledge or experience, making the clothes that kept soldiers warm on the battlefields and pushing to be allowed to take on more responsibility in the workforce.
No, ANZAC Day IS NOT an excuse to get wasted.
Soapbox: nothing makes me madder than the idea of people getting together to get as drunk as humanly possible just because it’s a national holiday. Those men fought and died for our freedom - it’s up to us to maintain our dignity when we commemorate their service.
There is nothing glamorous about war.
It’s so easy for kids to think of conflict and battles in terms of Lord of the Rings and movies that star Brad Pitt and George Clooney.
For my grandfather the picture that comes to mind is one of his local cricket team in 1938 - and how few of those players were back on the field come 1945.
On April 25th we need to look forward, as well a,s back.
‘Lest we forget’ means that we will not only keep the flames of memory burning, but that we respect what our forefathers did for us enough to represent our country with the courage and strength of spirit that they did as we move into the future.
What will you tell your kids about ANZAC Day?
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