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There were 50,000 people at the ANZAC Day March in Melbourne today. I checked that when I first made a post on ANZAC Day in 2006 there were 30,000 in attendance.  ANZAC Day is an occasion that has proven resilient even as we move further away from the event in time.  For me its a day when I think of my dad – he died 38 years ago and was a long-serving World War II veteran. He always celebrated ANZAC Day when we lived in Sydney as an occasion where he met up with old service friends.  He thought the main message of this day was the terrible nature of war.  He had no romantic illusions about war and lived the effects of his war time experience for the rest of his life.

The popularity of ANZAC Day, particularly among the young, is worth comment.   It could be that the family ties are crucial in this but I suspect that in a materialistic, secular society it is also related to a deeply felt search for meaning and significance.  Even if the focus is not entirely accurate the ethic of “dying for one’s country” as the ultimate self-sacrifice is a virtuous ideal.  We are short of even remotely comparable ideals these days.

1 comment to ANZAC Day

  • rog

    I’m a bit dubious about this sudden popularity of ANZAC day. Take for instance Christopher Pynes understanding of the day

    ” I think it’s terrific that there’s so much interest in ANZAC day. What I’m saying is that the national curriculum – the history curriculum – downplays that. That doesn’t reflect the fact that young people, and in fact people of all ages, are flocking to ANZAC day ceremonies, and what that might speak to is how the Australian public are yearning for a view of our history which is not the black armband view of our history, where we hang our heads in shame every second day, but in fact where we celebrate our national history like all countries should. All the good bits, and the bad bits. They’re all part of our history.”

    Hard to both include “the bad bits” and avoid aboriginal dispossession.

    Pyne also says that the events at Gallipoli represent the birth of a nation.

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