Anzac Day

Written By: - Date published: 6:01 am, April 25th, 2017 - 28 comments
Categories: Anzac Day, history, war - Tags: , ,

Lest we forget.

There is a list of Anzac Day services here, and a list of peace vigils here.

See historian Dr Felicity Barnes on ANZAC myths and memories, and our national “origin story”.

An appropriate day to contemplate “the meaning of honour”.

28 comments on “Anzac Day”

  1. Paul Campbell 1

    I was a teenager in the early ’70s, most of my teenage years the RSA publicly lobbied the govt to make shake those “long haired hippies” into shape by sending them off to war, to Vietnam – for boys the draft was a sword hanging over our teenage years – the ballot happened when we turned 18 – while one had to volunteer to go to Vietnam the RSA’s public face wanted it to be mandatory.

    My teenage years were full of existential angst, I was lucky, they stopped the draft a few months before my 18th birthday, it didn’t stop years of dread, full of old white men on TV demanding my blood.

    So I have no love for the RSA, then or now, I don’t buy a poppy to support them. Of course the RSA, and their public face back then, was probably the most obvious case of “survivor bias” those thousands who died in war, didn’t get a say in the RSA’s policy, you had to Return to be eligible for membership in the RSA.

    • AB 1.1

      Thanks for the story Paul.
      One older brother of mine turned 18 in 1970. He was lucky and missed the draft. I remember the tension in our house leading up to draft day. He went to university and became a doctor. Seems so long ago now. But yes, those threatening old authoritarian white men on the black and white tv. As an old white man myself now they are my anti-role model.

      • Carolyn_nth 1.1.1

        I remember those days of tension for some of the older boys in our neighbourhood. In the end, they also missed the draft as it was discontinued.

        I also remember that local boys had to participate in “war games” at their secondary school. As I recall it involved scrabbling around the playing fields on their bellies, with rifles, probably not real ones (?), trying not to be seen by “the enemy” etc.

        One boy in the neighbourhood hated it, and used the opportunity to escape the school grounds and cycle home early.

        ANZAC Day is a difficult one: to remember the people who were sacrificed, so often at a very young age; and to remember those who were permanently damaged by participation in wars; but not to glorify war – and to set peace and diplomacy above brutal war and violence.

        And for the youth of the 50s and 60s, there was the threat of nuclear war as well, which was quite daunting for young people. Now, here we are again with a macho-posturing US president.

    • Poission 1.2

      memories are long on war Paul,Try to get a pint at Glencoe.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clachaig_Inn

      • Paul Campbell 1.2.1

        Which is why we shouldn’t fight them. When is Trump going to get over his fear of telephones and pick one up and call North Korea?

  2. I normally post a blog each day, but out of respect decided to make today non political.

    Instead I have published the story of my Grandmother’s (on Mum’s side – she was only 11 Days old when he was taken) brother Eric Dennis Green who was lost near Rimini in September 1944 in a botched river crossing.

    https://willnewzealandberight.com/2017/04/25/the-story-of-lance-sergeant-eric-dennis-green/

    LEST WE FORGET

  3. Morrissey 3

    Following the revelations of New Zealand soldiers’ brutality in Afghanistan, surely this year of all years, we should be asking questions about this idolatry of our armed forces, and not endorsing these military-sponsored festivals of forgetting.

    • garibaldi 3.1

      Anzac day is an opportunity to remember the unnecessary slaughter of our young men in a total disgrace of a campaign (insisted upon by Churchill) at Gallipoli to try to overrun the Turks and hence free up access to the Black Sea in order to ‘help’ the Russians. It also serves as a day to remember the thousands killed in the rest of WW1. The horrors of wave after wave of men being ordered (on pain of death if disobeyed) to face machine gun fire should be etched in everyone’s brain. No real excuse for the Brits to carry on doing this after the first time.
      So what do “we” do? We turn it into a “Nation building” event and an opportunity to bang on about “God, King and Country” and to glorify war.
      There is not a fine line between remembrance and glorifying war…. it should be obvious to anyone. Too much of our Anzac Day is spent on the latter of these two ‘options’.

  4. Morrissey 4

    As well as the crimes our troops have committed in Afghanistan,
    here’s another reason you should NOT wear a red poppy

    In late 1918, after the war had ended, New Zealand and Australian soldiers rounded up more than one hundred boys and men in the Palestinian village of Surafend, then methodically clubbed them to death. After that, the ANZAC soldiers burned the village to the ground.

    General Allenby called these ANZAC troops “cowards and murderers”.

    
Far from apologizing for the massacre, the RSA ran poems in its magazine praising it.

    http://alh-research.tripod.com/Light_Horse/index.blog?topic_id=1115959

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/massacre-that-stained-the-light-horse-20090723-dv3o.html

    • The New Student 4.1

      All the more reason to wear a poppy and support the rsa.

      Because these people need help.

      I can’t find the poems, are they in the individual soldiers’ accounts?

      • Poission 4.1.1

        Lest we forget.

        There were thirty million English who talked of England’s might,
        There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
        They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
        They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.

        They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
        That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
        They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
        And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four !

        http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_brigade.htm

  5. Ethica 5

    I remember one year some women tried to lay a wreath on the Cenotaph to the women victims of war including those raped and murdered. We know that rape is a common weapon of war. The wreath wasn’t allowed.

  6. mary_a 6

    This year I will remember little Fatima, lost forever when she was blown away in a botched raid, involving the NZ military, an atrocious act the NZDF or the government of the day will still not accept responsibility for!

    Fatima’s sweet little face haunts me. RIP Fatima.

  7. millsy 7

    Let us not forget those that died accidentally in both wars as well. Or in the armaments factories to workplace accidents.

    One would have to be really naive to believe that having young men in charge of dangerous machinery and weapons that would have some form of design flaws would lead to no accidents, Sadly, such statistics are hard to find.

  8. From my blog :

    The dead are dead. What matters is why and how they died and what value we, the living, place on that; what lessons we learn and apply. 

    To me, the best way to honour the war dead is to dispense with the military and religious rituals and symbology and turn the commemorations into a secular expression of mourning for ALL victims of war, with the emphasis on ensuring PEACE –  now and in the future. 

    [lprent: Added blog to rss sidebar ]

    • mauī 8.1

      Thanks. Increasingly I’m finding it uncomfortable remembering the dead in a national sense with the overarching influences of patriotism and our military.

      I remember having a moment of silence with my grandad and a room full of veterans at the local RSA many years ago. Predominantly people directly affected by war and maybe that is the best place for it to be acknowledged.

  9. One Two 9

    Every human being, their family and friends impacted by wars of those who seek to steal resources..

    The death machine/economy’s are still in full flight, chewing up and spitting out everything deemed to be ‘in the way’ of the ‘goals and agendas’

    Lest we forget who is behind the death economies…

  10. Whispering Kate 10

    I have always thought that when men or women decide to join the military and they sign the dotted line there should be a disclaimer like the small print on insurance policies which explains clearly to them that they will be lied to, used and abused while on active duty and treated with disrespect on their return to civilian duties whether they be in one piece or disabled mentally or physically. The reputation of governments with the welfare of returned servicemen is known world wide and its not good.

    It has ever been so, sent into theatres of war which are poorly executed so that there are needless fatalities, wars that are the fantasy of leaders and pissing contests for people who do these atrocious things just because they can. There is no glory in war and should be avoided at all cost.

    This pissing contest between North Korea and the US is a perfect example except this time it could be catastrophe for many innocent populations across the globe, always by meglomaniac leaders light in the intelligence department. Its the service personnel who get my utter respect, the decision makers at the top are a disgrace.

  11. I was listening In the car to Radio Live last night around 830. Two or three jocks talking about ANZAC day. One said it was great that these ww1 soldiers saved NZ people from being killed and our democracy destroyed.
    Then she proceeded to use the word “neat” 10 times in describing the service.
    WTF Is taught in History at schools?

    I nearly broke my rule never to phone talkback!

    • Ad 11.1

      Raise a pint to the Easter Rising instead.
      My Dad’s Dad sure got out of Cork pretty fast after that.

  12. One Anonymous Bloke 12

    …the meaning of honour.

    Indeed. Listening to serving personnel is so much more complicated than putting words in the mouths of the dead.

    Celebrate victory with a funeral. Lao Tsu.

  13. Grey Area 13

    Amy Adams at Gallipoli reported on RNZ: “This peninsula of war is now a place of friendship and healing. It’s proof that enemies can become the truest of friends. That we have more in common than that which divides us.”

    She said she hoped it would inspire those in conflict around the world where “deep-rooted hatred seems impossible to overcome”.

    “May they turn to Gallipoli and see what can become of their bitterness.”

    I’ve always thought that any friendship between New Zealand and Turkey is only possible because of the Turkish capacity for forgiveness.

    • the pigman 13.1

      “Amy Adams at Gallipoli reported on RNZ: “This peninsula of war is now a place of friendship and healing. It’s proof that enemies can become the truest of friends. That we have more in common than that which divides us.

      You’d think if she was going to plagiarise the late Labour MP Jo Cox she might have the decency to acknowledge her. Oh well, guess that’s “NZ’s future PM”, Amy Adams, for you.

    • AmaKiwi 13.2

      +1 to Grey Area

      And the message is NOT “what can become of bitterness.” The message is “the stupidity of letting irrational bitterness lead to the insanity of murder in the name of King and Country/freedom, or whatever nationalistic b.s. governments cook up.”

    • left_forward 13.3

      I entirely agree with you. During a visit to Turkey that we made two years ago, at the time of the centennial, I was amazed how much respect we received for being Kiwis. I asked on a number of occasions – why such respect for one of the attacking nations at Canakkale? It appears that the Turks have quite a sophisticated view of Kiwis as being like them, merely victims of circumstance.

      It would have been infinitely more inspiring if Amy Adams and other speakers had acknowledged the Turks and their dead, and apologised for New Zealand being part of such an aggressive and pointless invasion.

  14. AmaKiwi 14

    The dead speak.

    My father-in-law flew RAF Mosquitoes. Suicidal! After the war he was “emotionally unstable” for much of his remaining life.

    My mother was Swiss but had relatives in Nazi occupied countries. Her father, brother, and several cousins died.

    Both of them chose to die on ANZAC Day.

    They did not want us to forget . . . the futility of war . . . . all wars.

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