August 31, 2004

The true meaning of Anzac Day

The following words by Peter Adams, written in April 2003, sum up for me, the true meaning of Anzac day:
Anzac Day, celebrated this past Friday in Australia, is a national day of honouring Australia's soldiers; in particular, those World War I soldiers who served at Gallipoli in Turkey.

This morning, in today’s post, I received two small stones taken from the beach at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli. The sender asked that they be placed with the many other stones that comprise the Ancestral Midden section of the Windgrove Peace Garden. “My partner wept at Lone Pine, partly through anger at the senseless waste of young lives, and partly because of grief.”

Our political leaders today are basking in the glorification of war and will succeed for a short while in becoming miniature heroes hiding behind the cloak of another’s bravery. But behind their pomp and ceremony lies the horrific reality of the gassing, the wounding, the torturing and the killing of thousands upon thousands upon thousands of soldiering men and women throughout the world.

Lest we forget. This is the true meaning of Anzac Day.

Lest we forget that Australia's longest lived Anzac who died just last year, Alec Campbell, was a life long pacifist. Lest we forget the words spoken this last Anzac Day by World War I Digger, Marcel Caux: “War is so useless. There’s nothing gained by it”.

This afternoon I placed the two Anzac Cove stones on the Ancestral Midden and offered a prayer that someday the world will have politicians with the wisdom to understand that violence only begets violence and that a lasting peace will only ever be achieved through peaceful means.