What does ANZAC DAY mean? What is its purpose? As a Defence Force member, it is part of my job, but it is important that we don’t just go through the motions but seek to understand what it is really all about. For me there are three basic aspects:
- STOP! Often the trouble is that we are so busy that we never stop long enough to think about what we are remembering. Some have suggested that it would be better to forget many of these sad events in our past, but it was these same conflicts which forged us into the nation we are today. The spirit of ANZAC does not focus on a few heroes but the ordinary bloke! As we stop to remember, not just the pain and suffering, but also the good things like bravery, sacrificial giving and simply giving a mate a hand. But we must not stop there, we must
- LOOK and LISTEN! We must look to understand how that applies to our lives today. Many of us have never seen war first hand and it is all too easy to gloss over the cost of our freedom. We live in a very different world but war still exists and though it may have changed in some ways, it still brings pain, suffering and casualties. As we listen to the daily new coverage we are reminded that in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, winning a war is not the same as bringing peace. But stopping, looking and listening are not enough, we must
- GO! What are we going to do about it? Are we prepared to GO and allow the spirit of ANZAC to guide our lives? Will you go and courageously seek to bring that same meaning and purpose those around you? Are you prepared to fight for peace and justice? To do that we need to move forward, to learn from our past and seek innovative approaches to the same old problems of how to get along with each other, making sure that armed force is the last option not the first.
It seems to me that if we stop, look, listen and then go with that knowledge and wisdom that we will begin to experience what ANZAC Day is really all about. It is my hope and prayer that as we approach 25 April this year that it will begin to make sense to you too. As we pause, maybe we will also experience a miracle as God shows each one of us how we can make a difference.
Chaplain Ian S Whitley