ANZAC DAY – Lest We Forget

Anzac-Day-SquareANZAC day and all its history brings us together each year on this day to give honor and respect to those who died so that we should live in a world of our choosing.  To remember those who laid their lives on the line to defend our country and those who still do because they felt it was what needed to be done or in the case of some of those in Vietnam where they were sent. Anzac Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. It is the day on which we remember Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.

The spirit of Anzac, with its human qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity.  Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australian and New Zealand actions during the campaign left us all a powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as the “Anzac legend” became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the ways they viewed both their past and their future.

anzac-day-brisbane-anzac-day-redlands-anzac-day-se6It is a sad thing when despite the public honor and the deep respect that those who service in our armed forces deserve that our government seems to be forgetting just who it was who fought and died and why they did so.  I recently met a wonderful man at the local shops who was selling the ANZAC day badges to raise money for the veterans.

He asked which war and I explained it was World War II where the Grandfather I’d never met served in New Guinea.  Nodding he found the brass badge for those who served there and asked what I knew of him. Sadly all I really knew, other than he was a champion Rugby Union Player and a soldier in WWII,  was that after the war he was deeply troubled.

He committed suicide when my mother was three years old after receiving no help from the veteran’s affairs doctors other than being told to stop drinking. She and her mother received little support from what was the DVA at that point and what support they did receive came from the fledgling RSL (Returned Servicemen’s League). To this day they do amazing work and my Father-In-Law gives much of his time and energy to the RSL and the assistance they offer not just those who’ve fought but for all those who need aid in difficult times is often desperately needed.

dvaThis gentleman was not surprised and said that many of those who came back from PNG were terribly traumatized by what they had seen and that the Veterans affairs were just not prepared for it.  Even now he went on to say with all they have learnt regarding PTSD and battle shock the government still doesn’t provide the kind of care and ongoing support that some really need.  He made a joke, that wasn’t really a joke, saying that the veterans call the DVA [Department of Veteran Affairs] the Deny Veterans Anything.  His friend had recently passed on and he was fighting with the department on his widows behalf.

poppiesHe died due to health complications from an injury sustained during war but not of the injury itself, in true bureaucratic fashion the department deems that he is not eligible or the brass plaque that goes on his grave that all those who die as a result of war injury receive.  His widow doesn’t want a pension, doesn’t want anything other than that plaque for her husband and the health he sacrificed.

She want that acknowledgement for his loss from a Government who now wants the pension age pushed back to 70 and to limit those who are able to receive disability payments for themselves or families.  Our veterans deserve more and this man’s wife deserves more than a paper fight with a department aimed more at finding what you’re not eligible for than for assisting those to who we owe a great debt.

poemRather than declining in number as the years pass Anzac Day has brought together more people than ever before and this year record numbers attended ceremonies at the Australian War Memorial on Anzac Day 2014 with 35,000 attending the Dawn Service and a further 17,000 attending the National Ceremony. That doesn’t even count the services held in every town around Australia be it Chinchilla, Roma or Broome at the rising of the sun we remember those who fought and those who still fight so that we can live.  Let us all hope, pray and work to create a world where that sacrifice is not in vain nor goes unrecognized.

12 thoughts on “ANZAC DAY – Lest We Forget

  1. \

    Very emotional and well written Jenni. Thank you for your post. It is important to all who enjoy the freedom to honor those who fought for that freedom. Our Gov’t here does poorly in the remuneration regard as well. A recent argument here is the gov’t payment for burial costs of veterans. It covers only about 1/4 of the real costs of a small funeral. Those who fought for our freedom cannot even get enough money to be buried.

    I completely support the fair and ethical treatment of soldiers by their respective governments. This includes all monetary requirements for a dignified life and death.


    • It’s so wrong not to offer the respect. I don’t always agree that wars need to be fought or that respect is due to the governments who send our men/women to fight BUT those who serve deserve everything we can do in terms of support, respect and care.


  2. I ticked like not because I liked what I read in truth it saddened me and it is true of the treatment service men and women recieved after the two world wars and are still receiving now from the unholy wars that that rage all over the world .
    Here are two clips that make the point that war is pointless and we the everyday people are but cannon fodder!

    Both clips make me weep . So it is a good job this is not pen on paper!
    My brother a career soldier, took a late retirement as he was re commision when he first left, He now spends his time helping servicemen and women and widows who need assistance. He is often frustrated by how ard he needs to fight and even beg to help them. He also take trips of young people to the trenches at Yepes and the Somme to show them the trenches and how they soldiers had to endure .

    Lest we forget

    we must never forget!


    • It’s so wrong the lack of respect and assistance for those who risk so much so that others can live without fear and sadly it seems today so that some large businesses can make more money. Cynical I know but I’m very afraid it is the case in to many instances lately.

      Thank you for the clips – much like your ‘like’ the thanks isn’t really thank you as they are difficult things to watch but I do really appreciate you sending them to me.


  3. Wow, J. What a story about your grandfather. So deeply sorry that he took his life like that. Imagine, to feel there was no recourse, even with a little girl to care for. Thank you for enlightening me on how the VA was unprepared to deal with all the trauma. I don’t feel qualified to say much more. My horizon has broadened just from this one post.


  4. As an American, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we didn’t fight in the Pacific alone. My grandfather’s best friend was a Marine that fought the Japanese as well. I know the bravery that your grandfather exhibited to come home. It’s a shame he never got to heal by sharing his experiences.


    • It is and the sad thing is he wasn’t alone. So many then and now don’t get the support they should for the what they did and still do for all of us.


      • I couldn’t agree more. I worked in a VA (Veterans Administration) Hospital for a year and saw some very fragile men. War is rarely heroic and vets have a hard time getting benefits here as well.


      • I’ve heard that from a number of people who I’ve met here in the ‘blogasphere’. It is, I think, a sad indictment on the government of any country when they don’t support those who fight for them.


      • I don’t know where the push back is Australia, but here everybody wants the government services (but says the government is too big in the same breath) without realizing that they have to pay for it through taxes. So, it’s a budgetary concern, largely, and Americans have no interest in paying more in taxes these days.


      • We have a different taxation system to yours I believe, a sliding scale that is PAYE . There are move here to start taxing trusts that those who have millions create to avoid large tax bills so it’s not so much that as a question of priorities on behalf of this and previous governments.


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