Today is ANZAC Day. A day where we acknowledge the sacrifice that so many service personnel made in the name of keeping our country safe, in a series of wars over decades.
The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps are saluted with respect in countless ceremonies across our countries. This morning we set our alarm for three am, and then crawled out of the warm bed, got ready and headed off to the Memorial Centre for the Pre-Dawn service. We go every year as Ross’s grandfather was an Original Anzac who fought in Gallipoli amongst other places, and his father also served Australia in the Second World War. So the tradition of attending this service endures out of respect for their efforts.
Following the service we all head off to the local Returned Soldiers League Club for the Gunfire breakfast. Not gourmet fare, but made more palatable when accompanied by coffee laced with a shot of rum. After that, we head for home and slide back into bed for a few more hours sleep. Then we go about our daily lives, not giving it much more thought.
Not too much of a hardship to acknowledge the efforts of those who served, and then we go about our daily lives. So many families are affected by these wars, and yet we — as a society — continue to create wars to send our young people off to fight and die and experience untold horrors that we who stay behind can never truly understand.
Many come back from war mentally scarred, yet appear quite normal. The horrors they’ve seen are so often unable to be expressed and many suffer in silence.
An article published in February 2016 on news.com.au states “According to Queensland-based charity, Walking Wounded, since 1999, 49 soldiers have been killed while on active duty, 239 veterans have taken their own lives.”
A tragic state of affairs, and here we are in an age of enlightenment, of advanced medical technology yet we can’t seem to look after our soldiers after they’ve laid their lives on the line to protect us. To allow us to enjoy our lives.
So in reality, getting up at three o’clock in the morning, one day each year to attend a service that recognises the efforts that have been made for us, is not too much of a hardship. But recognising that it doesn’t stop there, for those who have served the nightmares continue throughout the years. Then there is the ripple effect on the families and friends, especially when there is a suicide.
We can put ourselves out for one day each year, but they have to live with their reality every day.
In the words I recently heard from a veteran — nobody wins a war.