ANZAC Day – The Glorification of War ?

ANZAC Day 2012 – The Glorification of War !

Did that statement make you sit up and take notice?

How about this one?

ANZAC Day- ‘just a party for drunken yobbos’ !

OR

The centenary (of ANZAC Day in 2015) is a “double-edged sword” and a “potential area of divisiveness” because of multiculturalism.!

Are you as  SHOCKED  and saddened by these statements as I am ?

Yet these statements have been made by various “ focus groups” over the past few years.

Where do you stand on the celebration of ANZAC Day?

What does ANZAC  Day mean to you?

The Price of War

War is Hell!

There are NO winners in War

Graves at Gallipoli

One side – The Victor regains what had been lost to the aggressor, but at a terrible price.

The other –The Defeated- loses what it gained by aggression and often pays  a greater price.

Suspicion, mistrust, anger and misery are usually the legacies of war

In some cultures “loss of pride” is an even greater loss  and acts like a “festering sore”

War often demonstrates the cruelty and potential depravity of man.  I acknowledge this.

Courage in War

Simpson and His Donkey Memorial. Melbourne. Australia

However, War also shows the heights of courage, selflessness and sacrifice to which  some are able to rise.  

Jack Simpson Kirkpatrick was an example of this courage and self-sacrifice shown during the Gallipoli campaign in 1915

Private John Simpson, was a member of he 3rd Field Ambulance, Australian Army Medical Corps. He served from the time of the landing at Gallipoli on 25 April until he was he was hit  and killed by a machine-gun bullet in his back on 19th May 1915

Over a period of 24 days as a Stretcher Bearer he rescued 300 wounded soldiers initially carrying them over his shoulders until he managed to “acquire” a  donkey.

Although recommended for the Victoria Cross as acknowledgement of his bravery, an “administrative error” in the paper work at Whitehall in England, denied him that award. Despite representations from the many groups, including the Australian Government, that travesty of injustice has never been rectified.

It is courage such as this which we acknowledge and celebrate on ANZAC Day

We in Australia, enjoy freedom and a way of life which is the envy of many in other parts of the world.

This freedom has come at a terrible price.

 

The First World War was a shocking example of the stupidity of War.

 The partial Casualty list below gives some idea of the human cost.

Country

Dead

Wounded

Missing

Total

Australia 58,150 152,170 210,320
Britain 658,700 2,032,150 359,150 3,050,000
France 1,359,000 4,200,000 361,650 5,920,650
Germany 1,600,000 4,065,000 103,000 5,768,000
New Zealand 16,130 40,750 56,880
Turkey 250,000 400,000 650,000
USA 58,480 189,955 14,290 262,725

A generation of young men from Australia and New Zealand  in the “prime of life” was decimated

The last  surviving Australian Anzac,  Alec Campbell, died on the 17th May 2002 aged 103  

The last surviving New Zealand Anzac, Alfred Douglas Dibley, died 18 December 1997 aged 101

Those who say that celebrating  ANZAC is The Glorification of War are misguided

Remembering those who sacrificed their lives for our liberty is NOT Glorification of War.

Lets us never allow their sacrifice  to fade from our memories.

War has affected me and my family personally. My grandfather who was “mentioned in despatches for bravery” was killed in Belgium in WW1. My uncle, who was an unarmed stretcher bearer, lost his life in Syria in WW2. He was killed by a sniper’s bullet  while out rescuing the wounded.

Let us celebrate ANZAC Day with our heads held high and fly our flags with pride.

New Zealand Flag

Australian Flag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a detailed presentation of the events of the Gallipoli landing in 1915 see my article ANZAC  DAY- Honour in Defeat

 

Doctor Bill