A different day

If, as according to all the rhetoric, ANZAC Day is about remembering those who’ve died defending this country (and not celebrating militarism), then shouldn’t we pick a meaningful date from the Second World War, when they actually did that?

36 responses to “A different day

  1. damienisbetterthandamian

    Apparently, as it was the first Australian/New Zealand major military conflict, it represents the birth of Australia’s “independance” from Britian.

  2. If it’s about honouring the brave who fought to defend us, the above should be irrelevant. The above’s only relevant to nationalism.

  3. And doesn’t really fit either. The whole Gallipoli attack was a British plan, wasn’t it?

  4. Wisdom Like Silence

    So we should ignore the first major military conflict in Australias history?

  5. There’s a fairly obvious middle ground between “ignore” and “try to turn into our national day”.

  6. Wisdom Like Silence

    Australia day is our national day.

    Whether factually accurate/relevant or not, 25th of April is the day that has been chosen to honour military service for this country and for New Zealand, and it’s not such a bad thing. First major conflict we were involved in, total shambles, thousands dead and no ground gained. Makes us remember that war isn’t some glorious theatre where everyone’s a hero and no one dies, and highlights the determination and the tired courage Australian and New Zealand soldiers forged there and brought back.

    How come every Bombing of Darwin anniversary you don’t say something about this issue?

  7. The problem with ANZAC Day is that it’s used to celebrate “determination” and “bravery” and “strength” but not to lament the waste of lives of war. It’s not about making the ultimate sacrifice to save lives – or we’d pick a day that wasn’t about invading Turkey for no good reason.

    I don’t get your bombing of Darwin point.

  8. Wisdom Like Silence

    It is to lament the loss of lives.

  9. That’s not the primary message conveyed by the choice of day, and the way it is “celebrated”.

  10. The further away you get from the actual events being commenorated, the more of a ‘celebration’ it becomes. If you compare ANZAC day of decades past to what it is today, you’ll get the idea.

  11. Wisdom Like Silence

    Yes it is.

    We lament their loss and celebrate their actions.

    What’s wrong with that?

  12. baldrickjones

    Jeremy – when was the last time you attended a dawn ceremony? Nothing is being celebrated there – thats why the the ode ends with “we will remember them – lest we forget”.

    It is commemorated, not celebrated. We pay our respects to those who endured such terrible days and left us a country that allows idiots like Catherine Deveny to spout insults on her twitter page.

    Don’t listen to what channel 9 says about the day – actually go to a dawn ceremony and then afterwards spend some time with some of the vets in an RSL and listen to what they had to go through, over a beer of course.

    “or we’d pick a day that wasn’t about invading Turkey for no good reason.”

    actually there was a very sound strategic reason to conduct this operation – it was just handled extremely incompetently.

  13. damienisbetterthandamian

    Yes, the ANZAC day ceromonies are to mourn the loss of lives, but it’s not only celebrating the bravery of soldiers at Gallipoli (however misuided/British that campaign was), it’s also to celebrate the bravery of all soldiers, pilots, etc. They always mention/dedicate the proceedings to soldiers who fought in past conflicts like WWII, Vietnam War and current conflicts.

  14. The other part of these type of ‘celebrations’ is the important role they play in conditioning people to accept the loss of life in war, both in the general sense and for future individuals who may have to contemplate being one of the losses. It’s almost religious in the sense that it promises a kind of afterlife – we will not forget. Though of course we do. Anyone remember (without googling) who died, and for what, in the Boer War??

    The emphasis is on duty and what we owe them given our current ‘way of life’ etc, when the less pleasant reality is that a lot of the deaths were very likely pointless.

    I look at it like this – the current ANZAC day is a part of the preparation fo the next war.

  15. That’s the point, indeed.

    I’d take this “we regret the loss of life” line more seriously if the message of ANZAC Day was “we must avoid getting involved with wars except as an absolute last resort”. Prime Ministers who’ve sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan have absolutely no credibility on this point.

  16. Wisdom Like Silence

    nawa has a good point about the Boer War, we should include it in our celebrations.

    Jez, they do say those things at dawn services, and national addresses.

    “But as a nation we also strain every sinew for peace because there is no romance in the mud and the blood of war – only the cold silence of death and the sobbing of innocents. ”

    Spoken by The Hon. PM Kevin Rudd today.

  17. I’ve been to the dawn services, and the issue seems to be that the coverage of them is very different to what actually occurs there, and the feeling.

    Usually what happens in the media is they get photos of past services, do a spread on a heroic soldier, and some quotes from the RSL. You can’t get a quote and a recent photograph from a dead person, so of course they focus on the living, and of course they focus on the most heroic stories, because they are the most interesting.

    The dawn services? Seeing ordinarily stoic men in wheelchairs, or walking defiantly straight-backed weeping silently for their fallen mates, you couldn’t possibly think it was a glorification. It isn’t. Just like the shrine itself, it is sombre and reflective, so are the services.

  18. Wisdom Like Silence


  19. There’s a huge difference between the dawn services I have been to and the glorification of war that saturates the media this time of year.

    “The emphasis is on duty and what we owe them given our current ‘way of life’ etc, when the less pleasant reality is that a lot of the deaths were very likely pointless.” – nawagadj

    Especially at Gallipoli. My great uncle Mick was an ANZAC, he was even at Gallipoli for about 3 days. He got blown to pieces at Pozieres. The people who live in that town don’t think of it all as pointless.

    He wasn’t the only member of my family that fought in WW1 either, but he died. (The others survived minus the odd limb or eye.)

    ANZAC Day always means something special to me. Its a deep and complicated set of emotions.

    “The problem with ANZAC Day is that it’s used to celebrate “determination” and “bravery” and “strength” but not to lament the waste of lives of war.”

    I dunno about strength, and its certainly a lament, but … I was doing a fire brigade course on Saturday so I missed the ANZAC day game. I love playing footy on ANZAC day weekend.

    There’ something about it. I try and go hard every game, but on ANZAC daygames its impossible not to. Its hard to explain, but there is something about the day thats deeply woven into our national pssyche. Honestly I think we should keep it, but it shouldn’t be our national day.

    It should be our national day of mourning for everyone who ever died in any war anywhere whatever side they were on.

    And we should institute another national day.

    “Kick a turd day”

    Where media knob jockeys who use ANZAC day or the ANZAC tradition to glorify war and prostitute the memory of my dead ancestors (who fought for all the things they claim are our national heritage) get hung by their feet from a tree limb and used as punching bags.

    ANZAC day was started to remember the horror of what happened, and we all owe that a duty of some sort. That horror – that the best and brightest young men of a generation from across Europe and the world were pointlessly slaughtered over a spat between the European Royal Family (all those pricks are related).

    The real lesson of ANZAC day is this:

    Don’t go to war unless you are damn sure its worth it.

    (Thats from my pop, who was gassed and shot on the western front as a 16 year old. The nurse in the field hospital recognised him from home, and he was discharged, cos he was the oldest sibling of a family of orphans and she didn’t want to see him killed. By the time he turned 18 it was all over.)

    Last year on the anniversary of the bombing of Darwin a friend and I were kicking a footy round in Nimbin. A bunch of Jap tourists walked by, and seemed fascinated. (They were young males – military aged.) So we invited them to join in. They didn’t speak English very well, and the only word of japanese my friend knew is their word for “pussy”.

    So for an hour we were kicking a footy round laughing, having fun and screaming out that word the way the japanese soldiers were sposed to scream out Banzai.

    My wife’s granddad was a rat of Tobruk and a New Guinea vet. i think he fought at Milne Bay as well a kakoda. Two generations later instead of trying to kill each other we were kicking a footy and having a great time. (I didn’t realise it was the anniversary of the bombing till the pub that night.)

    For some reason that really touched me.

    My wife’s parents are involved with a student exchange program between Lismore and Japan. Her dad’s dad was at war with japan… and now – well one of the former exchange students actually flew out from japan when we got married.

    Thats the true meaning of ANZAC day.

    Lest we forget.

  20. “The real lesson of ANZAC day is this:

    Don’t go to war unless you are damn sure its worth it.”

    Wise, wise words. That is indeed a worthwhile, important message that ANZAC day should impart.

    But you wouldn’t hear it from much of the media coverage.

  21. Wisdom Like Silence

    So because the Media coverage is shit, then it’s not a worthy event Jeremy?

  22. I didn’t say that – I suggested we pick a different day. Perhaps one not so ingrained with nationalism. ANZAC Day is a big nationalist day Australians largely because it’s supposed to represent the first time we went off and did something major internationally as an actual nation (give or take the fact we were following Britain’s orders).

    Our soldiers have died in other wars before and since, and more defensible wars. I’m suggesting that if we’re making the point about the horrors of war and our gratitude to those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe, we pick a day that
    – isn’t tainted with nationalism; and
    – is actually associated with an instance where they actually kept us safe.

  23. Splatterbottom

    On ANZAC day, as on other days when we join together to commemorate some national occasion, you will find disaffected leftists huddled in some dark corner bleating and moaning, seeking to re-create society in their own misshapen image. Like wilful children they expect immediate change, as though society can turn on a dime and re-create itself in a bleeding heartbeat. No wonder leftists are mocked by the many who serve society best by getting on with their own lives, free of the intense rectitude that impels leftists to subvert the institutions of society with their soulless political correctness.

  24. That’s not political correctness. This is political correctness.

  25. Wisdom Like Silence

    You think there would be a day on any calendar, ever, that wouldn’t automatically be drenched in nationalism, especially if it was changed to a day commemorating a battle we got into off our own bat?

    I think picking the first cab off the rank is genius, especially in this case, because it was an absolute shambles that cost us in lives and our innocence. It reminds us of what was lost and how we have to do everything we can to avoid war.

    Our “national” day, as you put it Jeremy, acknowledges the first time we went to war as a nation and not colonies, and the first day of a horrifying, bloody, and ultimately failed campaign.

    What better way to thank soldiers for their service, than remembering even the dumb campaigns they lost their lives for?

  26. That is a bit silly.

    I can see their point tho. I have mates were Vietnam vets. The flag means alot to some of them, cos of their dead friends according to some.

    I think, as a nation we’ll still have a colonies attitude till we get rid of that damn butchers apron. But ANZAC day isn’t the day to bring it up really. Cos the people who it matters to, really matters to, are thinking about their dead.

    And they died under that flag.

    I agree with RM on changing the thing, the sooner the better.

    I’ve got into fights on Invasion day over the flag, but ANZAC day is different.

    Honestly, I’m not criticising Ray Martin for doing it, except for this – its a dumb thing to do really. He’s one of those media knob jockeys anyway so its no surprise.

    Even if the flag changes that flag will still mean as much to the vets that served under it.

    What RM did was dumb cos it will turn that grief into nationalism of the patriotism = kissing the flag variety. Which is the worst sort.

    Anyway thats enough of that. ANZAC isn’t the day to start a debate about it.

  27. “What better way to thank soldiers for their service, than remembering even the dumb campaigns they lost their lives for?”

    Remembering one when it was necessary instead?

    Doesn’t trying to make the best of the anniversary of some really dumb warmaking from our leaders kind of make it easier for us to accept it next time?

  28. baldrickjones

    “Doesn’t trying to make the best of the anniversary of some really dumb warmaking from our leaders kind of make it easier for us to accept it next time?”

    Now that is really stretching the logic train there. Whatever the motivation, it was the first time that soldiers of Australia fought as a federated Australian force. Since that time tens of thousands of Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen have died in conflicts. It is a valid linkage between all of these conflicts and should be reserved as a day to remember those who have given a hell of a lot more than you or I, including those who have come back with physical or psychological injuries that have stayed with them and their families lives.

    Oh and for my two cents, Ray just did it for shock value and to get more viewers. And for that he can go and get fucked.

  29. Wisdom Like Silence

    No. It makes it necessary to have a bloody good reason to go to war.

  30. they had a good reason for that war. the ottomans had been harbouring terrorists and trying to buy yellowcake from niger.

    if it wasnt for the gallipoli campaign, we’d all be speaking turkish and eating doner kebabs

  31. damienisbetterthandamian

    If your post was sarcastic, please disregard the following as I cannot recognise sarcasm on the interwebz, even in context.
    I cannot find anything about the ottomans harbouring terrorists, and I’m pretty sure nuclear weapons weren’t thought of until the 1930’s. And why does everyone use examples like “speaking so and so” to make a point about a military action? Doner kebabs are awesome, btw.

  32. just because you can’t find the evidence, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. bombs away

  33. Blast Tyrant

    Damien, wow, you sure can’t recognise sarcasm on the web!
    To be fair however, karl could well have used an emoticon of some sort, or even taken up Arj Bakers call for a new font called “sarcasitca”.

  34. The date of ANZAC day was chosen in a very different social environment where common views were very much in favour of it.

    Regardless of the date chosen the point of the day is to remember those who have lost their lives in the service of our country (knowing that they were putting themselves at risk).

    Regardless of the politics behind the various conflicts there are individuals who have sacrificed themselves for the benefit of everyone else for what they believed or were told were the right reasons.

    There are bad soldiers in the same way there are bad people in any profession – but there are many good people who are doing what they are told because they believed those giving the orders.

    IMHO the entire point of ANZAC day is to remember those that have died (for right or wrong) regardless of the reason for the war that caused it.

  35. Wisdom Like Silence

    excellently put.

  36. Yeah well said ghostsg.

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