Reflections on Anzac Day

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

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.

Tomorrow is the main day of the year when Australians stop to reflect on the significance of the work of those who have gone to war to fight for our nation, some losing their lives in the process. I would imagine that many Australians are not too many generations removed from ancestors who have served as part of our armed forces. My grandfather was one such person who, whilst not part of the battle line, served as part of a medical team on the Kokoda Track in World War 2. Whilst I never got the chance to find out much about his experiences (he passed away when I was 10), I can only imagine that he shared the experience of many who have recalled a tremendously daunting and laborious fight against the Japanese in Papua New Guinea.

Even though I won’t be attending an official gathering at a war memorial, I will certainly take some time tomorrow to contemplate the fact that not just in the past, but now, there are people who are putting their lives on the line for the safety and sake of their nation (or whomever they are in combat for). It is hard to say that warfare is a noble pursuit, but for those who are willing to face an enemy in the act of warfare, their courage and boldness I admire. It’s evident that our younger generations are beginning to realise the sacrificial nature of war in their attendance of dawn services and the Anzac Day parades that happen around Australia. This can only help to ensure that as the diggers who fought during battles and wars die, the legacy of their national service will live on.

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