WE are fast approaching our annual commemoration of Anzac Day when we remember not only the original Anzacs, but all the men and women who have given their lives to serve our country over the last hundred years in wars and indescribably horrific circumstances.
We also remember with gratitude the members of Legacy who have offered support and friendship to spouses and families deprived of their loved ones, and we remember too, the families and loved ones whose lives have been irretrievably changed by their loss.
Anzac Day is not an occasion to celebrate war and bloodshed, but rather a day to pray for peace throughout the world and to take up the challenge to seek ways and means of achieving this.
We need to work to eliminate violence, hatred and bloodshed.
World War I was declared to be the war to end all wars. Somehow that goal was never reached.
Most of us could not accurately name the number and places where war has been happening since peace was declared in 1918.
While Australia and New Zealand have not experienced war on our home soil, with the exception of the Darwin bombings in World War II and the Japanese submarine in Sydney harbour, our men and women of the armed services have collaborated with allies from many countries in search of freedom and the resolution of massive problems.
It would appear that the method being used is not appropriate.
Violence almost always begets violence, and the slaughter of hundreds, possibly thousands of innocent women and children, as well as those on the front line is a far too high price to pay in the hope of achieving a goal.
We need our international leaders to work together to put in place appropriate systems whereby respectful dialogue can happen so that peaceful resolution of differences can be reached.
Anzac Day can also be a day for each of us to examine our own lives and living.
We need to be aware of the decisions being made by our Governments, especially those which affect the less fortunate in our society, and take a stand.
Domestic violence continues to be a nasty blot on our societal landscape and both victims and perpetrators need help.
This is also the case with pedophilia and abuse of any kind.
Abuse is often practised because of the colour of one’s skin, or the accent of their speech, or the faith they profess.
Anzac Day gives us an opportunity to acknowledge our Aboriginal soldiers who fought for us, but who were not equally recognised as returned soldiers.
We need also to remember our New Zealand allies who fought shoulder to shoulder at Gallipoli and other war arenas.
Let us never forget both the good and the less good of our Australian history, and join with pride as we recite the Ode of Remembrance.
“They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn, at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them. Lest we forget.”