In this guest article, James Elfverson raises the ongoing importance of showing respect to the veteran’s that have sacrificed so much for our nation.
ANZAC Day marks the first military battle fought together by both New Zealand and Australian soldiers during the First World War in a bid to open the Black Sea to the allied navy and supplies, what does it mean for young Australians?
I attended the dawn service after a night at work. I didn’t finish my shift till after one o’ clock in the morning; and although it would probably have been more common sense to go home and wake up just before dawn, I decided to meet some friends who were already out for some drinks and continue until the service began commencement in Sydney’s Martin Place. When I extended the offer to my friends who were out with me if they wanted to join me, I received responses of, ‘no, I cant,’ and ‘no thanks I’m going to get to bed so I can get up early for “two-up” and drinking’.
Even worse than witnessing my friends disregard the symbolism of ANZAC Day, was viewing people walking through the crowd that had gathered for the service, bleary eyed from a big night of party going without any real realization, attention or consideration for the procession that was taking place. The party goers where literally shocked to see a mass of people waiting for them around the corner of some of Sydney’s nightspots.
So what has ANZAC Day become for some of the youth today? Has it been that long that since Australia was in a “televised” war that the youth have long lost the sense of what our servicemen’s sacrifices meant for the progress and prosperity of our country?
Yes ANZAC Day represents getting together with friends and family to pay our respects and celebrate the pride we feel as a nation. I feel, however, a sense of disappointment that the “celebration” takes priority over paying “respect”. I feel even more alarmed that some didn’t realize what day it was.
Have Australia’s youth lost the notion of what is meant by the ‘Ultimate Sacrifice’ and if so, why? Even as we currently have servicemen in foreign countries, I have no doubt that few have a real conception of what it is like to fight and possibly sacrifice your life for your nation’s interests. Few possibly realize the significance of charging into a wall of gun fire, with the possibility of survival bleak to say the least. There are Australian’s who perceive ANZAC Day as a second Australia Day rather than the day it deserves to be.
If Australia’s youth continues to display efforts which are unpatriotic to say the least, what can we expect of our their children. Generations must keep the spirit of the ANZAC alive. If we forget those who have sacrificed all so that we can live today, then we have forgotten the principles with which our nation is founded
Surely Wilfred Owen hadn’t foreseen the apathy to veterans by Australian’s when he wrote in his first line of his poem, ‘Anthem for a Doomed Youth’; ‘What passing-bells for those who die as cattle’.
“Veteran’s Day” is highly respected in America. ANZAC Day should be treated with equal regard in Australia.