ANZAC Day

Posted Friday, April 25, 2008, 4:41 PM

I clean forgot it was ANZAC Day today. That's what happens when you aren't working and every day is a day off. I went to the supermarket and noticed some of the shops were shut and there were young kids everywhere out of school, and I couldn't figure out why. Then I remembered! That would explain the no mail, and the no response from the help email I sent out this morning.

ANZAC Day, for the uninitiated, is the War Remembrance-type Day for the antipodes, the date being the commemoration of when, on April 25th 1915, the ANZAC troops (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) were sent on a suicide mission at Gallipoli in Turkey. A poorly thought out attack, the troops had no shelter from the onslaught of Turkish enemy fire; they were completely exposed on a beachhead while the Turks were safely above them on the tops of cliffs and steep hills, able to pick off the ANZACs with ease. Over the extent of the Gallipoli campaign, tens of thousands of allied and enemy soldiers were slaughtered.

Now, this all took place over 90 years ago. Anybody who had fought in that campaign, or any part of WWI, have since died. The fear is that because of this we will forget what War means. But I have a problem with the way people, especially the Media, deals with war veterans and how we're supposed to react.

Firstly, do we remember pre-WWI wars? The Boer War? The Maori Wars? The American War of Independence? No. Why not? Because they're history, not the present. Don't forget the wars happened, study them and learn from them. But we can't "remember" people and events we never had anything to do with.

We've had tons of wars since then, the most significant being WWII, and there are still thousands of living survivors of that conflict. Korea, Vietnam, the first Gulf War, and the recent Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, are all plenty enough to be respectful (and angry) towards.

War, being the stupid meaningless slaughter of millions that it is, is not really what we should be respecting, anyway. It's the disgusting way that innocent lives are lost in their midsts.

So, Media, and others: Stop asking me to "remember those who fought in the wars" when I have never known anyone who did. Stop being sad when a soldier who survived a war of nearly 100 years past dies, because he lived a long and fruitful life beyond the war itself, and that's a good thing, something to admire. And stop telling me how I should feel about the madness that is killing other people for governmental gain.

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