Opinion – Pause for Thought. Time to consider the values that underline our Country

It has been a long time since Anzac Day punctuated a federal election campaign, and there could hardly be a greater contrast than that between the point-scoring, box-ticking, and vote-buying that characterises an election campaign and the patriotic unity that Anzac Day evokes.

Both the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader sufficiently forgot party politics to make fine speeches at different commemorations; and, for a day, all our first world preoccupations, such as climate change and gender fluidity, faded against the contemplation of our forbears’ response to the struggle for life or death in a good cause.

So what moves us in our many hundreds of thousands, here and at services overseas, to get up early and brave the chill to honour the dead?

In a society that mostly shuns ritual and hardly ever goes to church, attending an Anzac Day service is about as close as we come these days to a religious observance. But what exactly are we remembering? Is it the grandparents and the great grandparents that fought in distant wars? Is it the friends of friends, currently serving in our military? Or is it the ideal of duty and service that they epitomise; and the values that made our country what it is — that we often fear might be slipping away from modern Australia?

When I was a child, when my grandfather’s World War II generation was still only middle-aged and when the Gallipoli generation was still alive to share its memories, Anzac Day was a day for old soldiers and mateship.

Now that the world wars have largely slipped into history, Anzac Day has become a day for us all; a day to honour those who’ve worn our country’s uniform; and a day, inwardly at least, to pledge ourselves to be worthy of the people who’ve taken great risks to keep our country safe.

This is why they deserve the special recognition they get; and why they are, in some way, a reproach to the rest of us. They call us to be more devoted to those around us, and to be more committed to our country, than perhaps we already are.

But then, so many are already committed. It is just that they are not often the voices we hear on our national broadcaster or agitating for the left’s latest cultural cause.

Instead they go to work each day, raise their family and pay their taxes, uncomfortable with the relentless push by some to change who we are, to apologise for Australia’s history and our success.

They’re often referred to as the silent majority and on Anzac Day they are out in force, because it was their sons who were the backbone of Australia’s military ranks and suffered the heavy losses.

Much more so than Australia Day — which has a lightness about it; smack bang in the middle of our idyllic summer, with flag waving, and big community barbecues — the sombreness of Anzac Day lies in its association with the sterner virtues of courage, self-sacrifice, duty and honour.

We remember the best and bravest of us, and in so doing, remind ourselves of their qualities and resolve to be more like them in our own, often very different struggles. Even if we wonder how today’s Australians would cope with horror — on the scale, say, of the Battle of Fromelles, with 1500 dead and nearly 4000 wounded in a single night — it is still a day to feel quiet pride in our country.

Thanks to our military men and women, and those of our allies, our country is free, fair and prosperous. There’s no doubt that our victories in war, plus our vigilance in peace, have made the world a better place.

But it’s the duty of all us, not just those who wear, or have worn a uniform, to preserve these hard-won gains, and to build on them wherever we can.

The values we commemorate in Anzac Day must be defended every other day of the year.

Let us hope the campaign interregnum of Anzac Day inspired our political leaders, and all the candidates, to think less of themselves and their political creeds and more for our country and our values.

For us voters, let us hope it has reminded us to treasure our vote, not to take our freedoms for granted and when we mark our ballot paper, to do so wisely.

Peta Credlin The Courier Mail April 27, 2019.  
Originally published as The Anzac message to remember on election day

Comments

  1. Kim Stewart-Gray says

    Peta Credlin what a refreshing voice to hear in today’s disoriented confused Australia.
    Thank you for your sanity and rationale, please continue being such a voice and exert some influence for the good of our PC battered nation.

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.