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Lest We Forget

Entry 754, on 2008-04-25 at 21:31:51 (Rating 3, Comments)

Yes its ANZAC day again, so I guess I should add my comments on the subject (don't I always). Before I do let me explain to non New Zealand and Australian readers than ANZAC day is a national holiday held on 25 April by Australia and New Zealand to remember members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who landed at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I. It is also used as a general day of remembrance for all war veterans and a day of reflection on war in general.

I have heard the opinion that commemorating the actions of our troops and treating them as heroes isn't sensible because it glorifies war, but maybe that's just an excuse for people who don't want to go to the dawn service. And before you ask: no, I don't go either but I admit its because I'm lazy and I don't try to justify it by pretending I have an ethical objection!

I think its essential that every country should have a day of this sort because it does focus our attention on the terrible waste of war - and the Gallipoli campaign was a particularly bad example. Its important that the mood be kept solemn and the sacrifice and sadness associated with it be maintained. If it ever turned into a day which glorified military actions I would be worried.

Many of the soldiers really were heroes and they do deserve our respect. That doesn't mean we should respect war, but having a distaste for military action in general shouldn't stop us from remembering the sacrifice of the members of our armed services in every war they have participated in (including the more controversial ones like Vietnam).

I find some of the pro-war propaganda coming out of the Middle East very distasteful. There are various movies and other material circulating showing the American military taking out enemy combatants. OK, maybe they are fanatics and terrorists but they are still people who believe they are defending their country, religion, culture, or whatever else. I don't blame American soldiers for taking that sort of action but at least don't make it seem like anything heroic. I mean, is sitting in a high-tech chopper and using night vision equipment to blow away some peasant who probably doesn't even know you're there really heroic? I don't think so.

So I say we should continue to commemorate our war history but we should continue to do it with the appropriate level of respect, sorrow and humility.

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Comment 1 (1442) by Jim on 2008-05-04 at 12:02:48:

Congratulations. This is a quite well balanced and fair entry in comparison to some of OJB's previous efforts! Well done for not criticising our soldiers which is a common attitude for lefties. You couldn't help putting in the criticism of the Americans though could you.

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Comment 2 (1445) by OJB on 2008-05-11 at 17:49:32:

Huh? Yeah thanks. Somehow I think this might be a criticism in disguise. You seem to be suggesting I am usually biased maybe? And do you not think my criticism of the Americans is valid? And I'm not really a lefty... wait a minute, in general I am!

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