Anzac day is when you honour those who actually served their country. The men and women who march, do so knowing that not everyone made it back, and many more cannot march. Wounds, both physical and emotional, sideline many. Some are confined to home, and too many are just lost.
Why would anyone march for Anzac Day when they did not serve? How could they?
The other night a news story reported how recently, several sets of medals had been stolen. Unfortunately, there are people who take the medals for their monetary value but also so that they can pass themselves off as a veteran. No-one should be marching with stolen medals. No-one should march who did not serve. Sometimes family members march in memory of someone. They wear the medals on the other side so that people know. For those who march to honour their family members, I hope your family members knew of your support when they were alive.
People clap for the parades. The presence of people who like the attention, and march without any right to do so, is completely disrespectful. You honour your family, not by marching and pretending you were there or that you care, but by spending time with them. You honour them by attending their parades and clapping for THEM. Not only did they give you life by giving birth to you or your parent, they protected that life and insured your life would have the freedoms that you do. But most importantly, you honour your family member by how you treat them in between the parades and services. They are not just “ornaments” in our life that we take off the shelf of our lives once a year, to dress them up, send them out, and clap.
Anzac Day begins at home. Do you know where your family’s veteran is? How he/she is doing? Have you ever talked to him/her about their service? Have you ever thanked them personally? Have you ever gone with them to a service or a parade? Have you ever met some of their fellow soldiers and listened to their stories? Do you know anything about your veteran?
Anzac Day requires more from us than just clapping on the side of a street. These people don’t need applause as much as they need human contact to reassure them, to help heal them, to encourage them. It is not someone else’s job. It is yours . . . and it is mine.