What is it about Anzac Day and our remembrance? Why do young people go to the Dawn Service?
What is it in our culture, what effects does it have that resonates with us?
One hundred years since Gallipoli this week, a massive and disastrous military failure that was dumbly and blindly executed by the British command and that we still signify as somehow defining our character as Antipodeans. Perhaps it does and perhaps it doesn’t matter now.
What interests me is why so many young people show up to the Dawn service on Anzac Day, so many resonate with something in this one battle on the rugged Turkish coast, and more than that, down through a hundred years of wars fought all across the globe that mostly we don’t understand and we don’t support. We support our servicemen and women we say, but not the wars themselves, the wars of politicians, lobbyists and businessmen. Something in our spirit is called, our soul sings with remembrance for something deeper in us. The sacrifice may be more about our own souls giving voice to that part of ourselves, that old warlike primal urge to do battle, to do violence, expressed through the service of the few. Maybe that.
Join Nyck Jeanes, Jill Conners and Don Prentice this Saturday from 8am to 10:30am for a BayFM live Broadcast from the Mullumbimby RSL, in honor of the 100th Anniversary of Anzac Day – or come down and join us at the RSL in person. It will be a time to grasp the profound meaning of service and the ruptures and ongoing currents that effect families and lives for generations of these men and women who saw the worst and did the worst that humans can do to each other. They return and make, as writer Louis Nowra has said, “a manageable past” as best they can. Some succeed and some do not.
They say on the battlefield there are those who know they will live and those who know they will die – and they are eerily precognizant. We may ask the same question moment to moment of ourselves – and remember those who chose or were called to put themselves on the line with no choice but to act.
So act now for love, justice and peace. Or die trying.
- Nyck Jeanes