Service and Sacrifice
Service and sacrifice have long been held as noble virtues, drawing respect from both individuals and communities. They point to the fundamental goodness of humanity, as well as call us to higher or better things. They remind us that heroism exists in the routine of everyday life, as well as in the darkest of times.
No day perhaps encapsulates their value and importance like Anzac Day.
Anzac Day, a solemn day of remembrance, has a long and rich history – full of tradition. In its early years, we honoured those who fought at Gallipoli, especially those who had died. Over the years, however, we have come to recognise the service and sacrifice of countless men and women in different wars and peacekeeping missions as well as remembering the families and friends they leave waiting at home.
Anzac Day has helped forge our national identity, and its traditions reflect our national psyche – who we are as a people, the values we hold, and what we stand for. The day has also revealed a seemingly innate human characteristic – the desire to show gratitude to others for their personal sacrifice for the common good.
The spirit of the Anzacs was borne-out during times of great adversity. Today, we too have an experience of adversity, albeit very different.
In recent times, Australians have experienced drought, flood, and widespread bushfires. And, with seemingly little or no respite, we have been beset by the challenges of COVID19. Every facet of our society has been impacted upon by the pandemic: workplaces, public transport, schools, places of worship, our social engagements and even family homes.
But as with other times of crisis in our nation’s history, men and women have stepped forward to respond to these challenges. At a time when we honour the bravery of those who defended our nation and the freedom of others around the world, we recognise that we also have contemporary heroes in our midst. Invariably, we have always overcome our difficulties when we have bonded together as a community.
This year, Anzac Day will be very different: no large-scale dawn services, marches or public gatherings. The restrictions of social isolation however, should not stop us from publicly acknowledging the service and sacrifice of others. Instead, we should seek out new ways for our people and community to honour and remember them. Lest we forget.
On Saturday 25 April, Anzac Day – stand in front of your decorations and observe a minute’s silence, to commemorate and give thanks for those who have bravely served, and continue to serve our country. Don’t forget to take a photo, upload it to social media, and the padlet, #stand4them.