Anzac Day for respecting veterans, not questioning their service

For some Australians it seems the meaning of Anzac Day has become lost in a mire of cynicism and criticism.

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Many people use Anzac Day to question the conflicts that Australian and New Zealand troops have served in and continue to serve in.

This is a debate that we should most definitely have.

Australia’s involvement in any conflict should be intensively discussed and debated, but there is a time and a place.

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Anzac Day is not that time and place.

The first Anzac Day saw soldiers and nurses, family members and friends, come together quietly to remember lost friends, brothers, sweethearts, husbands and fathers.

They were not there to question the legitimacy of the battles in which their loved ones found themselves.

They were there simply to remember and to grieve.

To Australians and New Zealanders, Anzac Day is sacred.

It is a day when we can come together to remember the men and women who answered the call to fight for their country; to fight for people they would never even meet.

Again and again they proved themselves equal to whatever was asked of them despite the odds often being stacked against them.

On battlefields around the world Australians have fought, died and survived bravely.

To question whether they should have been there in the first place, on the very day we come together to remember them, is to dishonour their memory and their sacrifice.

On Anzac Day we give thanks for their sacrifices – for the lives lost, the health ruined and the futures that would never be.

We remember what they did for our country and for other countries.

Soldiers do not question whether they should be where they are.

Even today, men and women join our armed forces knowing they will likely be sent to a far-off land to fight for a cause that may not seem directly related to their homeland.

And yet they go and they give their all, regardless of where or why they are fighting. 

This is what we remember on Anzac Day – not the faux-glory of war, not the senseless waste of lives, nor whether the cause or the battle was worth participating in.

We remember the Australians and New Zealanders who were brave enough to turn and face the enemy and charge with little thought for their own safety.

On every other day we can debate Australia’s involvement in overseas conflicts, but let’s leave Anzac Day for the men and women who fought for their country – for you and for me.

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