Lest we forget
Today is ANZAC Day (for the Aussies). One of the good things about being a Kiwi (or an Aussie) in Beijing is that the New Zealand and Australian embassies take turns to host an ANZAC Day dawn parade each year. I was planning on attending this year, but I wound up having to give a test at 8:30 this morning, so I thought I'd better not. Anyway, it's an important day in the calendar for Australia, New Zealand and Turkey, perhaps the most important for Australia and New Zealand. I'm not going to get all pious or sanctimonious or any other kind of -ous on you, don't worry, but I do think I should do something to mark ANZAC Day.
"Those heroes that shed their blood
and lost their lives...
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country,
therefore ret in peace.
There is no difference between the Jonnies
and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side.
Here in this country of ours...
You, the mothers,
who sent their sons from far away countries
wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bossom
and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land they have
become our sons as well."
ANZAC Memorial, 1934
It's already approaching evening in New Zealand as I write this, so most of the ceremonies will have been done. Here's a few articles about events around New Zealand from the NZ Herald:
Your ANZAC Day pictures (for that you'll have to click 'view photos', to the right of the non-article)
Some disgusting behaviour. I hope the bastards who did this get what's coming to them.
Apparently Helen Clark doesn't do dawn parades. I would sympathise if she wasn't the Prime Minister.
Hayley Westenra (apparently) drew the crowds in Wellington. Unfortunately some idiot anti-war protestors thought they'd disrupt things.
New Zealand's politicians tend to scatter around the world on ANZAC Day. Defence Minister Phil Goff observed ANZAC Day with the 122 New Zealand Defence force personnel based in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton was at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Hodgaya, Japan (trusting the NZ Herald for the spelling of that place name). Although this article doesn't mention them, Leader of the Opposition John Key attended the Wellington Ceremony, and I presume Prime Minister Helen Clark is at Gallipolli.
The Herald has a more comprehensive round up here.
Stuff.co.nz has the following:
And that's about it. Quite pathetic coverage, really.
The Prime Minister's and Governor General's ANZAC Day messages can be found here.
That's about all the news I can find right now. No doubt there will be more, later. So let me just add a personal thought or two:
ANZAC Day is not a glorification of war. We have ANZAC Day so that we remember those who have fought and died for us. Regardless of the real causes of each war, our soldiers believed in what they were doing and they fought well, with honour and courage, fighting for their mates alongside them and their country far away. We must remember them and their sacrifice.
And we must remember so that we do not repeat the past. We remember the horrors of war and the suffering of our soldiers. We will not inflict that needlessly on the generations who follow.
"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."
For the Fallen
We will remember them.