Prev: Re: [GZG] [FT] Strategic Campaigns? Next: Re: [GZG] [FT] NAC campaign setup

[GZG] [very OT] ANZAC day

From: <Beth.Fulton@c...>
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2006 10:26:07 +1000
Subject: [GZG] [very OT] ANZAC day

G'day guys,

Hope you don't mind the cross post but I thought this was worth sharing
(originally hummed and hawed but in the end decided yes).

As the number of vets dwindle in Australia school children have been
called upon to carry the unit banners. Lachy was picked for yesterday,
which was no small honour in a state that supplies more per capita to
the defence forces than any other in Australia and has one of the
highest VC per capita rates of anywhere in the commonwealth. He was
understandably proud and got to asking questions, mainly of Derek who
doesn't march even though he could (he does his reflecting more
privately). Janny was getting a bit uppity at the fuss and asked why we
do it. Fair question. So I started reflecting on discussions with my
grandfathers (one served in WWI and the other WWII). One of the last
conversations I had with my younger Granddad (who was in Africa and New
Guinea in WWII) was what he thought was good about it. He mentioned
mateship and bonds, but he said for him the best thing was his Dad was
finally proud of him. Well looking at the crowds yesterday there were
more proud sons, grand sons and great grand sons than Dads
(understandably, though there were a fair few Vietnam, peace keeping,
Afghanistan and Iraqi vets marching). One thing that hasn't dimmed
though is the mateship and respect that bridge enormous divides. This
was brought home to me when I glimpsed two tiny moments in what was a
long day.

I travel to work ever day by bus, along with a fairly regular bunch of
characters. Amongst these are a senior banker (Will's a portly happy
kinda bloke), a successful business man (Dave's quieter but always VERY
well presented) and a gardner (Tom, who looks a bit scruffy, but has a
wicked sense of humour and is very smart guy). They say the odd hello
and have a quiet laugh, but until yesterday it had never struck me that
they shared anything more than the odd conversation on the bus. Then
while I was standing with Lachy before the march yesterday I happened to
see them pass on the street. Will and Dave in crisp suits with chests of
medals and Tom in relaxed clothes, but with more medals than I think
I've ever seen on one man before. The salute that Will and Dave gave Tom
was as sharp as I've seen on any parade ground of today, age certainly
hadn't wearied them. Tom in his usual style smile warmly, bobbed the
head and said "I'm not your CO any more boys". One can only ponder what
they must have seen together and how it shaped their lives.

The other moment clearly shows why there is hope in a world that has
gone so awry that you 9 year old asks how people know there's no suicide
bombers in the ANCAZ day march crowds (!!). 

Not only Australians march on ANZAC day, it has become an accepted part
that ex-military from many nations can. We now regularly have Turkish,
Polish and African units marching (and in Sydney they had some of the
fuzzy wuzzy angels yesterday - from New Guinea). In what I hope is a
moment Janny remembers for a long time, we were at the memorial service
after the parade and Janny started tugging my arm hard. I thought she
was going to say she'd seen someone else she knew, which she had but
that wasn't why she was flapping like a chook. There was Joe (a local
chap that lives around the corner from us, he fought in the Polish Army
in WWII, he's a fairly serious old guy, very religios and wears his
Jewish cap everywhere he goes) and a local Turkish resturanter (sadly
don't know his name, but I do know he served with the Turkish army in
Korea) hugging and laughing. Despite us telling our kids repeatedly that
Jews and Muslims don't inherently hate each other it was a revelation to
her to see that played out in front of her eyes. I don't know what their
shared history is, their jocularity may well have had nothing to do with
ANZAC day, but it was a great moment, espeically for Janny.

So sorry to ramble on like that, but I thought moments like those go to
the heart of why days like ANZAC day aren't about glorrifying war,
conflict or battle, but are about friendish, hope and a promise of
something better.



Gzg-l mailing list

Prev: Re: [GZG] [FT] Strategic Campaigns? Next: Re: [GZG] [FT] NAC campaign setup