What I don’t like about ANZAC Day

This is a comment made this morning by a well-known Australian writer:

Anzac Day. A celebration of a society so fucked up it saw no other option than to go to war. Kill, rape and invade. Then glorify it.

I’ve been hearing such sentiments more and more each ANZAC Day. Personally, it makes me feel sick. It’s what I don’t like about ANZAC Day: the moaning of the ungrateful Aussies.

I wonder if the writer grew up in a family that went to war.

My father spend 20 months in New Guinea fighting off the invaders in WW2. You’d hardly know he served, so little did he speak of it. He certainly didn’t glorify it. I lived in a soldier settlement area on Kangaroo Island so all the ‘old blokes’ I knew had served in the war. Not once did I hear the war mentioned. Not even the glorification of their conquests, even the sexual ones. The above writer may find that difficult to believe. It’s fairly hard to spend your days raping local women while dodging the bullets of Japanese snipers.

But the war never ended for these guys. They carried emotional scars to the grave.

Anyway, like I said, I feel a bit sick in the stomach. How does it make you feel?

51 comments on “What I don’t like about ANZAC Day

  1. Did you know that this meassage appears on top of your page in my newsfeed ..
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  2. I AGREE!

    Those who think ANZAC day is a ‘celebration’ miss the point, whether by design or ignorance, who knows.

    It is about Remembrance.

    My wife was talking about it last night, and was amazed that it apparently isn’t that big in New Zealand. In fact, we are one of the only nations that I know off that actually remember their fallen on what is actually a military defeat.

    To me, that simply reinforces the day. It should never be overshadowed by victory or defeat, or any glorification or ‘celebration’. it should only ever be about Remembrance for the sacrifices our armed forces make, and the horrors of war.

    ANZAC Day always makes me Sad.
    Proud of what our soldiers have done.
    Afraid that I could never do it myself.
    Hopeful I will never have to, or my Children.

    In a foreign field he lay
    lonely soldier unknown grave
    on his dying words he prays
    tell the world of Paschendale

  3. Michael, same as your father mine also served in New Guinea and at Milne Bay in the artillery. And the same as your father never mentioned the war. I learnt from his Service Records on the National Archives that after being repat’d out with malaria that he spent many months in a psychiatric ward. Glorification? No.

  4. Both of my grandfathers served, My pop on my mothers side served in both world wars, he was a medic even though I never met him as he sadly passed on the day my sister was born he never spoke of it. My other grandpa told me when i was young never go to war it will destroy your spirit to see what he seen. I remember them always not just on ANZAC day, War should never be glorified and its sad that it is these days

  5. We should not glorify but remember the sacrifice of those who served. In my family, we lost an Uncle, father’s brother, in Korea and a first cousin of my father in WW1. Both of my mother’s elder brothers were hounded by white feathers into joining in WW1. Both were crippled and never worked after they returned. My father served in the Pacific as a Japanese translator, his other brother was a soldier. Neither talked about it. I went to a Catholic school in the 50’s/60’s. Many of my school friends had parents from Eastern Europe who had been through very hard times. They never talked about it, but they celebrated Anzac Day to remember the ones who didn’t make it.

  6. I went to a march in Adelaide many years ago. As those old diggers marched painfully along, dozens of women with crew cuts were yelling at them: “Rapists, rapists, rapists”. Ungrateful bitches.

  7. Miglo,like your dad,mine spent much of the war in New Guinea, he was a commando, so went in early and spent much of his time in ‘enemy’ territory. My dad didn’t speak of actual events either,but we knew he was in the war because throughout our childhood,there were many Saturdays and Sundays when Mum would round up 5 kids and spend an hour and a half on the 2 buses it took us to get over to the Repat hospital. Because of injuries he sustained in the war, Dad was admitted to hospital a few times a year. I still remember that old wooden single story hospital, with all the fellas out of the wards and sitting together in the sun out on the verandah,waiting for visiting hours… Many years later my dad died in that hospital,though by then it had been modernised-all concrete and glass. On those later visits, everyone had a private room,we saw no other families,there was no one in a neighbouring bed to tell us a joke or show the lamp he had made in rehab.. Anzac day is a bit like that for me too. What was once small and personal was modernised about the same time as that hospital . What was once a day for those fellas to don their suits and medals and catch up with mates, was also a chance for us to wave and cheer them.. Sadly I think it has been corporatised and turned into just another reason to get drunk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFmiVethBbA

  8. Roswell, really? Bitches,sure. But ungrateful? What exactly should they be grateful for? Think about it. The reality is, that war is men’s business. Women just get to clean up the mess. The mess of their broken and shattered husbands, brothers and sons. No spoils of war for them. And Anzac Day, is now just another excuse for a piss up,and a celebration of machismo.

  9. CM, those old blokes marching fought for their country and they would have lost mates on the battlefield. I reckon that they consider war as something futile, but they still fought for our freedom. No matter what one thinks of war, we must not take our hatred on those that were made to fight in it.

  10. I think you missed the point.
    My dad was in that same jungle. He was awarded the DCM for bravery under fire. He NEVER marched and NEVER spoke. I think he knew how insane it was/is to glorify war.
    Remember the sacrifice, honour the men (and women) and shut the f*&^k up about national pride. I’m incredibly gratful for the sacrifice my dad and your dad and my two great uncles (one at Gallipoli) neither of whom made it home in WW1.
    This country will go to anybody’s war anywhere anytime, we always have….. it’s insane and until we we stop shipping off to kill people on the other side of the world just because some politician want to look tough we do not have the right to call ourselves civilised.

  11. I’m with Roswell on this one. But I accept that many use ANZAC Day as an excuse for a piss up, but is it a celebration of machismo or patriotism? Personally I simply use it as a day to reflect on what my father did for me.

  12. Araneus1, that’s how my father felt. He forgave his enemy soldiers the day the war ended, but he never forgave the government that sent them off to war against us. Yep, even back then we were fighting rich men’s wars.

  13. Regards “Anzac Day. A celebration of a society so fucked up it saw no other option than to go to war. Kill, rape and invade. Then glorify it”.

    Sure, the first time you read such sentiments they can be a bit of a shock. After all the writer of these words may have recents events in mind, Iraq for example, or Afghanistan, what is the death count there now, of kids killed by drone attack? You have to admit the reason for Australia being involved, particularly in Iraq were dodgy, and that’s being polite.

    Although I felt like responding immediately when you asked how WE felt, I took some time to think for a bit and to attend my community’s ANZAC service where I took a few moments to reflect, not just on those who died during war, or served during war, but also the ongoing effects for the families of those who went to war, many are still paying the price.

    My father served time in New Guinea.

    The view mentioned is extreme, at the opposite end of those who wish to glorify war and raise all those who served or are serving in the armed forces as demi gods, heroes, one and all. John Howard and his ilk have exploited the ANZAC myth for their own ends. The author linked to puts it more effectively than I can, so here it is:
    http://www.australianreview.net/digest/2006/09/smitht.html

  14. As I write I can hear bag-pipes coming from the park…… and I remember them.
    I have never thought ‘glory’ or machismo, only sadness for those that ‘went’.
    In many counties they have what are viewed as ‘folk’ days …or simply put, days of the people,by the people…. ‘folk’ days that came from the bottom up rather than the top down…. in Australia we have (arguably) only two folk days … Anzac Day being one…. and Wattle Day. To me these two Australian ‘folk’ days are about remembrance of who(m) we are as a people, the struggles, the trials, the tribulations, on that human journey known as being an Australian……… remembrance is the very element that shapes and forms our identity as a people.
    Lest we forget.

  15. The writer of this offensive piece should be named! Having served in the Borneo and Vietnam spheres I certainly do not glorify war, neither did my father-in-law who caught in the Middle East and in Borneo, nor his father-in-law who was in Ypres during the first world war, My grandfather was killed in France at Loos, These men are all special to their families and NONE of them glorified war. In fact all the ex-servicemen I know are the truest of true Pacifists, remembering their mates alive and dead.

  16. To call the ANZAC dedication a glorification is so far off the mark as to display the total ignorance of the whole reason for it. It’s anything but and to not have an ANZAC dedication would allow a glorification of something that is in no way glorious.

    Thanks to the old pussers/diggers/airmen and ex-shipmates I shared memories and a beer with today in a dedication as to why war is not glorious and thanks for reminding us of that.

  17. We should always remember that debates and discussions like this would not be possible with out people like our fathers. Remeber Edmund Bourke “All that is needed for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.” We’ll these good men did something

  18. I’ll add to what I said on ANZAC by saying that it’s not just one thing nor does it have just one meaning, and that meaning is even more diverse amongst those who participate in the tribute and dedication services.

    Of all the meanings I’ve heard voiced and read the one thing I’ve never come across by those who do genuinely participate is glory. Though I’ve noticed in recent times the TV and News networks attempting to ante up each year to gain ratings for their coverage, but that has nothing to do with those who genuinely participate for whatever reason.

    Having said that surely the plethora of mostly US war movies, including science fiction/fantasy ones, glorify war and violence more than any dedication to those who have fought for the country, no matter the reason for going to war, which is inevitably political or genuinely to protect the country.

  19. OMG. It’s Tony. I reckon you can vouch that the old diggers on the island never glorified the war. And like me, you probably grew up in a family that was missing something. Love.

    It wasn’t until I read Kokoda a few years ago that I realised what dad had been through. I cried. I now knew why he was like the way he was. I hadn’t known what he’d been through. He never told me.

    BTW, Port Adelaide are doing OK. :mrgreen:

  20. I find it abhorrent that people assume ANZAC day glorious, I spend a good deal of the day fighting off tears, remembering those all too many who didn’t return, the scars on those who did, both physical and emotional. My dad fought with the US Marines in Korea and WW2 alongside Aussies and didn’t talk about it at all… (he also carried a Bayonets scar on his side)although ANZAC day wasn’t a day for our family, dad disappeared for 2 or 3 days as he caught up with fellow returned soldiers from across the globe. In our house it was the unspoken that said so much. Kudos to the Army officer who read the two letters at yesterdays Sydney service, I cried my heart out listening to them and still well up when I consider how many of those letters were written or wished they had. Lest we forget.

  21. I didn’t realise what my grandfather had dealt with as in France in WW1 until I got to Australia and experienced my first ANZAC Day. It was never spoken about, although we knew he had served.
    I didn’t really start to find out more until in Mr Howard’s time the ‘celebration’ of ANZAC Day seemed to get more ‘glorious’ and I have increasingly felt annoyed with the terminology around the day.

    It is not a ‘celebration’, but a commemoration. It remembers the futility of war and the victims; the soldiers of both sides and the civilians. I have long felt it is Australia’s way of collectively reminding our politicians that “Jaw, jaw jaw is better than war, war, war” (to quote Churchill). Pity that some of them (and their MSM promoters) don’t listen too well.

  22. Thanks to the old pussers/diggers/airmen and ex-shipmates I shared memories and a beer with today in a dedication as to why war is not glorious and thanks for reminding us of that.

    My thoughts too, matelot!

    Civilians see it differently to service personnel … most of them get that … as for the strange 1% trying to make a name for themselves … who cares …

    The other side to your comment above was to see a contingent of apprentices in their last year, who marched at the head of the RAEME column … the Corps is in good hands … and I got to marched alongside my son again … I avoided ANZAC day for thirty years … (I was discharged at the end of 1971) … I doubt I’ll miss another … sadly, it was announced that one of the sergeants I served with, died this year.

  23. Good on you TB.

    In civvie street I have still yet to come across a comradeship as deep and meaningful as those formed in the service.

  24. When did commemoration equate to “glorifying war”….Oh wait…Left wing blog…:)

  25. In civvie street I have still yet to come across a comradeship as deep and meaningful as those formed in the service.

    And sadly I doubt that you will … I’d say the first week in the Army (can’t comment on the Senior Service) changed the rest of my life – particularly in discovering who I really was …

    … I went to the rifle range a few months ago … hadn’t held a weapon for almost 40 years … all the training clicked in … great grouping … you know you, was a bit surprised, methinks … I know I was …

    … on the way back from repairing our targets, I saw all the these rifles facing me (no-one there) … I said that makes me very nervous – even though I know they are all safe … he said, “that’s because you were properly trained” …

    … thoroughly enjoyed the day …

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Comprehension is a skill Sparta, and few others I could name, often fail …

  26. When did commemoration equate to “glorifying war”

    When did someone enter into a conversation without knowing what the conversation was about. As soon as sparta rocks up it seems 😦

    Read the post genius.

    I’ll bet the ‘aliens’ were left wing too Migs 😉

  27. I doubt that aliens would be left wing as to travel through space over vast distances would indicate an intelligence that is far superior to ours.

    Doubt they would be right wing for the same reason.

    Judging by the tribalism I would say that we are still in the age of no enlightenment.

  28. “Read the post genius.”

    LOL….I did brilliant one’s but perhaps you weren’t following the thread? My comment was not in regards to the post but ongoing conversation thereafter; very disappointing I have to “spell” that out for the gifted among you…

    In regards to the post, it is because fewer and fewer people know what it means to serve that so many have a disdain for such events; really serve. Most kids now days feel joining some activist group or working for the government in a civilian capacity is equivalent. It is not! My military experience was one of the most profound of my life. I was fortunate not to have gone through combat spending a good portion on the Korean Peninsula but a few of my mates stayed on and did…One didn’t make it back. This is of note…

    “Just one-half of 1 percent of Americans served in uniform at any given time during the past decade”

    http://www.defense.gov/News/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=66253

    Not to sound like others but it is very true, if you have no skin in the game; how can you ever really understand or appreciate the service of others…

  29. “Comprehension is a skill Sparta, and few others I could name, often fail …”

    OH TB….You and Adrian should just keep seeking answers at the bottom of a bottle…Doubt you are able to follow your own gibberish….You have definitely helped me redefine the concept of “tolerance”….LMAO

  30. “You and Adrian should just keep seeking answers at the bottom of a bottle”

    Ah Sparta being judgemental in his arrogance yet again. Since you’re the one making the statement in your usual know it all way tell me how much I do drink?

    You blew it on the ANZAC topic Sparta, missing the point of it.

  31. Sparta,

    Just a couple of points.

    Not to sound like others but it is very true,

    But you did … you chose to be disagreeable … ever wonder why people have issues with your posts …?

    You and Adrian should just keep seeking answers at the bottom of a bottle…

    Why post that? Do you have a problem? … if you are an ex serviceman then, generally, there is an element of mutual respect … but you don’t seem to show that … odd …

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    It was pointed out to me on Anzac Day, being an extreme minority at my Corps get together that calling a person a national serviceman is not politically incorrect …

    … it was said during a bit of friendly banter within a group of people, including, gender/experience/age/service history … but surprisingly by a GenY serving member – and meant as a compliment … to moi … noice …

  32. “but you don’t seem to show that … odd …”

    Nor do you TB…in fact ever…When somebody calls me a racist I tend not to forget it…I suppose that was respectful or just one to many bottles of vino? Either way, you drew first blood “mate” so we can simply agree to disagree…

    “Ah Sparta being judgmental in his arrogance yet again”

    Adrian, it is your arrogance that has never shown any bounds and I have many posts to prove it…I tried to make peace with you on more than one occasion to no avail; it is you that has always gone for the throat when such a gesture was made…I accept you for what you are…End of story…

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