'ANZAC Day is a day for solemn memorial, not misplaced nationalism.'

In the middle of the night on 25 Apirl 1915, thousands of Australian and New Zealand men left the relative protection of a fleet of Royal Navy ships to land on the shore of what was once called Ari Burnu, now known as Anzac Cove in Turkey.

The British had landed them on the wrong beach, and instead of open country these poor young boys faced an impossible terrain. They were hit by Turkish fire almost immediately.

By the end of the day over 16,000 men had landed and many had been killed. By nightfall, the commanding officer, William Birdwood suggested an evacuation but was rebuffed by his superiors.

Battle raged for months with neither side achieving very much at all. The ANZACs were withdrawn in December 1915. The sad, painful deaths of young men, Australian, New Zealand and Turkish, for little more than the extended writings in the history books.

And so, what must we remember on ANZAC Day?

With pride, but solemnity, we must remember the sacrifice made by so many men. They gave up their lives. They were injured, physically and mentally.

We must also remember the sacrifice made by the countless women and children at home who gave up their husbands, their fathers and their sons.

It’s a sacrifice made not just by those thousands on that fateful day in 1915, it’s a sacrifice that many have made in all the years since Federation. World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, East Timor, Afghanistan, the Solomon Islands.

We must remember that their sacrifice was made so that we could live in peace. So that we might go about our lives in safety, and without fear.


And that their sacrifice was made so that we could offer our country as a home to those who also seek to live in peace.

ANZAC Day is not a day for jingoistic nationalism. It’s not a day for running around like a headless chook with an Australian flag tied around your neck like you might be the next Captain Australia.

It’s not a day to disregard and ignore the sacrifice made by Indigenous Australians, be it their sacrifice of land and culture, or indeed the sacrifice made by Indigenous soldiers who also fought alongside our ANZAC forces but without recognition or thanks.

It’s not a day to tell immigrants to go back to where they came from, to shout insults to veiled women in the street, to abuse our fellow Australians who may be simply have just been born across the seas, or that you might think look like they were.

It’s not a day to claim some sort of western religious authority, to indulge in dog-whistle racism and fear mongering.

It’s not a day to get pissed and beat up your mates, to gamble away your family’s finances or to vomit in the streets.

It’s a day of respect, of dignity and of quiet pride in our country and our community. It’s a day to share with Australians who have migrated here and to invite them to join in this part of our national spirit.

It’s a day of memorial, of remembrance, to offer up a silent prayer that we may never lose another life in the defence of our nation.

Lest we forget.