Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind

ANZAC Day 2020

4 Comments

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served” It is, I believe, the most important day of the year for most Kiwis. But what it means does vary from person to person.

From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_Day

I have mixed feelings about ANZAC Day. While, like most Kiwis, I consider it a day of remembrance, I along with an increasing number, find that the day adds weight to the futility of war. In this respect, I think there is a growing gap between Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia about the significance of the day. From my observation, in Australia, the day is also one of growing national pride, whereas here it is much less so. But keep in mind, this is purely a personal perspective.

ANZAC day traditionally starts with a Dawn Service held in every town in the nation. Last year the event was curtailed somewhat as it came so soon after the Christchurch shootings and due to security concerns, but this year, an even greater threat, COVID-19, has seen the cancellation of all services.

Instead, we were encouraged to “Stand at dawn” at our gates, entrances, porches and balconies. So shortly before dawn, I made my way down our driveway to the entrance of our property, and stood “Apart, but together as one” with many, but by no means all, of the households in our cul-de-sac. It was too dark to see most, but the quite murmurs of nearby households could be heard while I listened to the virtual dawn service broadcast over RNZ National.

Since my father died I have made a conscious attempt to attend the Dawn service, usually in person but sometimes by listening to a service on the radio or watching it on TV or online. My father made a point of taking part in the Dawn Parade that makes up part of the dawn service.

The parade consists of Returned Services personnel (veterans) and more recently, members of their family and their descendants, and also of current service men and women, fire and emergency personnel, and other services. Those with service medals are encouraged to wear them – on the left if they are your own, or on the right if worn by a family member or descendant.

In one respect my father stood out from every other returned service man and woman. He would be the only one that didn’t display any medals on their chest. Don’t get me wrong – he did have many medals, including several for bravery, but he refused to display them. He felt that displaying them was a form of false pride. It must have taken a lot of courage on his part to have put up with the ribbing, criticism and sometimes direct insults that he received every year from those he had served alongside.

It is as much for my father’s steadfast standing on principles, as for any other reason, that I now observe ANZAC Day. It is also My Father’s Day.

Sunrise shortly after dawn service 2020
Sunrise following Dawn Service

Author: Barry

A post war baby boomer from Aotearoa New Zealand who has lived with migraines for as long as I can remember and was diagnosed as being autistic aged sixty. I blog because in real life I'm somewhat backwards about coming forward with my opinions.

4 thoughts on “ANZAC Day 2020

  1. Thanks Barry. My dad served in WW2 also. I always remember his service. Those men went off at very young ages, my dad only barely 17. Many of course didn’t return. Whatever our thoughts about wars now, I feel they went believing as they were told, to serve their countries & think of us to come. For that I respect them.

    • My father was about 22 when he enlisted, believing it was the right thing to do. And I think he felt that way on his return. He never spoke much about his war experience until he was in his late 70s, and then it was more often to his grandchildren than to his own kids. What is clear is that although he would never describe himself as a pacifist, by the time I was an adult. his stance was that war is never a solution. It merely moves injustices from one group to another.

      • They did believe it was the right thing to do … for sure… they didn’t speak much on war, my dad was the same, and my many uncles who went too. It was their era. My father spilled tears years later in his 80s when he revisited Cassino with a group. They never were properly debriefed, poor souls. THey must’ve lived with awful memories in their hearts. Like your dad mine drew the same conclusions re war & went so far as to remind us wars are about money. I see today how right he was.

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