“Lest we forget.”
These words will be echoed across RSL halls, war memorials and Community gatherings today, April 25th. This is Anzac Day, the day when Australians remember those who gave their lives in service to our country during all the wars of past generations, but especially World War I.
Yes, we could look back at the insanity of war, the bad judgement on the part of politicians who send young men to die on the battlefield, and the many, many mistakes that have been made that resulted in tragedy upon tragedy, loss after loss. We could look at the permanent scarring of the soldiers, the refugees created when their homes are obliterated, the PTSD and other mental health issues arising amongst the witnesses of such horror and the unacceptable numbers of men and women who have, upon returning from the battlefield, suicide.
War is never good. War is not a necessary fact of global life and there are ways of avoiding this monstrous, nation-numbing experience that so many have endured.
This is one of the reasons we have memorials erected in nearly every city and town across the nation to these brave men and women. As we visit these sacred spaces this week, witness with others in Dawn Services, ceremonies and marches, may we look at the moving stories of mateship, courage, and sacrifice, and dedicate our lives to building a better future with these lessons in mind.
May we use our collective memory for its intended purpose and, never forgetting the realities of war, work towards a future of peace, hope and forgiveness.