Lest we forget

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38 Responses

  1. We also need to take greater care with our modern day ANZACs. Lest we forget. War is hell and we shouldn’t forget this fact. We have a duty and obligation, in my opinion, to support and honour our troops and recognise the sacrifices they’ve made whether we support the war they’re involved in or not.

    Stressed out troops sent to war zones
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/stressed-out-troops-sent-to-war-zones-20090424-ai1f.html
    EIGHT thousand military personnel who have returned from deployment are yet to receive post-operational psychological screening to see if they are having difficulty adjusting to life or are showing signs of psychological illness from their service.

    The alarming backlog is for postings over the past decade and is due in part to the Australian Defence Force’s increased operational tempo, as well as under-resourcing of mental health care in the defence force.

  2. The harsh reality for some of our troops is graphically illustrated in this story.

    Day of reliving horror and helplessness
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/day-of-reliving-horror-and-helplessness-20090424-ai1v.html

    TODAY, like every Anzac Day for the past 15 years, Ken Pedler will be battling to avoid a return to “the kids, the victims and the rapes”. He will be trying not to recall the smells and the bodies – and his helplessness as he stood by and watched the unfolding of the worst of the world’s crimes.

    It is a battle in – and with – his own mind. And it is a battle he almost always loses.

    Before his deployment to Rwanda, Pedler, then a 21-year-old private, had never seen a corpse (he saw the casket of a dead uncle, but it was closed). By the end of his six-month tour, he had seen headless bodies, been offered children to rape and stepped inside a church so clogged with corpses that he could not reach the pulpit.

    All that time – the worst memory of all – there was nothing he could do to intervene.

    “I would just stand around and watch things happen,” he says. “We deployed to Rwanda and within a day or two we were coming across decapitations, bodies piled up. It was straight from the word go. It took a while to get into your head what was happening.

    “After a while your brain closes into a knot and you just don’t care. I just thought everything was a joke. It was surreal … I just got callous and I turned evil. I was not the only one. We got to a point where we stopped caring for life … If you’re surrounded by evil, you become evil.”

  3. I see the PM has seized on the opportunity to announced the biggest military buildup since WWII on this hallowed day.

    This is disrespectful to attempt to increase his political stocks which could have been announced either yesterday or tomorrow.

    Far from impressive in my opinion.

    Lest We Forget

  4. Maybe we could use this thread to put up stories and memories of our friends and relatives who fought for our country?

  5. “Far from impressive in my opinion.”

    I agree. Reminds me of something Howard would’ve done.

  6. My Son

    Here is his little cambric frock
    That I laid by in lavender so sweet,
    And here his tiny shoe and sock
    I made with loving care for his dear feet.

    I fold the frock across my breast,
    And in imagination, ah, my sweet,
    Once more I hush my babe to rest,
    And once again I warm those little feet.

    Where do those strong young feet now stand?
    In flooded trench, half numb to cold or pain,
    Or marching through the desert sand
    To some dread place that they may never gain.

    God guide him and his men to-day!
    Though death may lurk in any tree or hill,
    His brave young spirit is their stay,
    Trusting in that they’ll follow where he will.

    They love him for his tender heart
    When poverty or sorrow asks his aid,
    But he must see each do his part –
    Of cowardice alone is he afraid.

    I ask no honours on the field,
    That other men have won as brave as he –
    I only pray that God may shield
    My son, and bring him safely back to me!

    Ada Tyrrell

  7. Nice words Sparta. Much appreciated.

  8. Just a mention. Is the article the one by The Australian’s National security editor Patrick Walters? Walters states that in his opinion

    KEVIN Rudd is set to announce Australia’s biggest military build-up since World War II, led by a multi-billion-dollar investment in maritime defence, including 100 new F-35 fighters, a doubling of the submarine fleet, and powerful new surface warships.

    Kevin Rudd has not announced anything on ANZAC Day (to my knowledge) however The Australian did choose to cobble together previously announcements coupled with some speculative bits about what the White Paper might contain. For example, the information about submarines is from February. http://www.danielemmerson.net/pdf/Defence%20Spends%20More%20Downunder.pdf

  9. Min, well spotted, I put it to you that Lachlan Harris was instructed to contact Chris Mitchell to ensure that the so called leak would make the papers this morning…just a “hunch” mind you.

  10. My first thoughts are of course with my son who marched today in Cairns.

    My late father served Milne Bay New Guinea. One of his favorite stories was how the Aussie diggers were on very short rations, bully beef and weak tea however the Americans lived in veritable luxury..coffee, chocolate and condensed milk. Therefore midnight raids were organised whereby our blokes would sneak into the US camp. And I have an US Army teaspoon to prove it.

    My dad never spoke about the crook times, just the comaraderie. Mind you he did have something to say about one particular lieutenant..but that’s another story.

  11. Scaps..my first thought when I read about the increase in Navy ships is who is going to man them? They can’t even man the ones that they’ve got. Mind you, the situation is fairly desperate re the run-down state of our defence forces’ tools and equipment. An example is HMAS Tobruk (son completed 2 tours to the Gulf and 2 tours to East Timor on the Tobruk)..she was supposed to have been put out to pasture at least a decade ago but no replacement was ever organised by the previous government.

    I suspect that Howard was far more interested in desert warfare rather than the protection of Australia hence Howard’s concentration on equipment which is fairly useless top end Australia.

  12. Min, another concern is the 3% paring down of the defence force internal budget or $15 billion over ten years.

    My understanding is that it is pretty lean now but you would be in a position to know more concerning the “boots on the deck” take on this issue.

  13. A touching story on ABC two nights ago on the five bodies found from ww1. Three bodies of the five could be idenified and familys notified. The two brothers story almost put me to tears. Imagine the stories out there and the ones they may never have made it light and died with them on that battlefield.

    I just wished it was a longer show

  14. Scaps am thinking that the cost cutting is going to come via contractors. It’s probably not well known but a lot of work that used to be done by enlisted personnel has been outsourced for a number of years. This is not popular with enlisted personnel as of course our people do not work 9-5.

  15. Another story. Jeff’s grandfather Augusto Domenico Coloretti was a Rat of Tobruk. What is unusual is that he is likely to be the only Italian Rat of Tobruk having never been naturalised. Grandpa Col had been recently widowed and decided to enlist, and rather than going to the trouble of becoming a naturalised citizen borrowed his cousin’s naturalisation papers. His cousin was also named Augusto Coloretti.

    Grandpa Col served with distinction WW2 ending up with the rank of sergeant. Just prior to the end of WW2 he was also sergeant in charge of a POW camp..used to take’em to the local pub.

  16. To those who fought for our freedoms I say thank you. Some men and women paid with their lives so that we may enjoy what we have today. Some men and women returned from the various wars with physical and psychological scars that they carry to this day and it is our job to ease their suffering where we can. To the current serving men and women I hope that you may return to your family and loved ones safely and I hope you return soon. Thank you.

  17. The change/development in community sentiment towards ANZCAC Day is interesting. Today it is a day we feel a sense of unity.

    This hasn’t always been the case.

    I was a little too junior to be part of the anti Vietnam war movement, though if I’d been old enough I have no doubt that I would have been a draft resister.

    It was that time and that war that formed the political views of a generation.

    ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day were labelled “glorification of war” back then, I recall the anti war movement would demonstrate at the ANZAC Day marches. I suppose I would have done that too, if my mum would have allowed me.

    Sentiment has swung. No one would dare hiss the labels, conduct the name calling or show such disrespect now.

    I think we are now more tolerant of the sacrifice and respect its sacredness. We no longer show disrespect to the sentiment of ANZAC Day.

    It is a pity though, that we have not learnt to show similar respect to those that hold sincere beliefs in other apolitical areas, such as those with sincere religious beliefs.

  18. Tom of Melbourne

    A thoughtful post, but not without ‘issues’ as you would expect. For example. your comment:

    Today it is a day we feel a sense of unity.

    we? Not sure you can go that far and claim that ‘all’ have the same feelings. I refer, for example, to a post at LP and a particular comment made by Katz at 13.

    so much cultural and emotional baggage has been loaded into the ANZAC story that it is in danger of collapsing under the weight.

    Now the ANZAC myth can mean anything and everything.

    myth can mean anything and everything? I agree. So many meanings are still on the table and that, I suspect, won’t change as time marches on.

    BTW the article written by a the student at the time is well worth a read. http://larvatusprodeo.net/2009/04/24/lest-we-keep-on-forgetting/#comments

    As for the the Vietnam Draft, I missed it by a whisker, being too old but as you say:

    It was that time and that war that formed the political views of a generation

    I was an original ‘Vietnam war’ supporter who became a rabid opponent and it was a watershed re my political views. Finally:

    It is a pity though, that we have not learnt to show similar respect to those that hold sincere beliefs in other apolitical areas, such as those with sincere religious beliefs.

    While I applaud the sentiment, I do not accept that many of those sincere beliefs are apolitical, unless you mean in the current party political sense. To suggest that Rudd’s ‘sincere beliefs’ do not have a political impact is simply not true. To suggest that Islamic beliefs don’t have political effects is also not true. As for the ‘sincere’ beliefs of those who conducted the ‘Inquisition’ etc.

    Politics, broadly defined, is always part of life. ‘Sincere beliefs’ shouldn’t get a free ride.

    As for the ANZAC ‘myth’ I’m off to Turkey later this year and while I’m not sure how I will react to the visit to the visit to the ‘sacred site’ I suspect anger will be a dominant emotion.

  19. “I was an original ‘Vietnam war’ supporter who became a rabid opponent and it was a watershed re my political views.”

    I can think of no worse a generation (baby boomers turned hippies) in the history of my country? The “political/social views” they formed have become the basis for one failure after another at the expense of us all. These so called “hippies” rushed to assume the role of the “establishment” they so ardently detested as hypocrisy became their mainstay. Their Fathers and Mothers had just won WWII, suffering much hardship and toil to build a better world; like the spoiled self absorbed children they were/are, they squandered it with drugs, music and a respect for nothing except self gratification. Yes, I am not surprised that they are now the same people I find myself in debate with on most issues, many still in a state of “psychosis”… The same folks who thought they were “expanding” their minds with LSD….LOL The children of these “hippies”, many now from broken homes due to their “expanded minds” no doubt, understand what they had broken and are now attempting to piece back together what their parents have so blindly torn apart in pursuit of their drug induced ideals…

    I can only say thank you again to those Aussies that understand what “service”, “sacrifice” and “honor” really mean; going abroad to ensure the rights of strangers, risking life and limb while doing so, in the service of your country is truly a feat. While others sit and mock your “ideals” from corner cafe’s comfortably behind their laptop screens, you willingly face danger in the process of defending theirs. This simple fact although wasted on the “expanded minds” is not missed by most of us……….

  20. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA

    The people who died at Gallipoli like the Australians and Americans who died in Vietnam didn’t ‘sacrifice’ their lives. The truth is they were the ‘sacrifice’.

  21. Nature 5,

    Well this may indeed be true to some extent in regards to Gallipoli or any battle (sacrifice under poor leadership is still sacrifice), I respectfully disagree about the Vietnam War…Besides, the South Vietnamese I know personally would ardently disagree with you as well…….

  22. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on April 25th, 2009 at 11:49 pm Said:

    Sparta, this is probably not the thread to debate the futility of the Vietnam War or as the Vietnamese call it the ‘American War’ if you care to go there. And if you do you might want to look at the hard graphic evidence of the atrocities committed by the US forces (not that the Vietnamese were any different).

    As for the:

    Besides, the South Vietnamese I know personally would ardently disagree with you as well

    I am sure they would! LOl’ Some might suggest those friends of yours were the ones who ‘ran away’. Didn’t stay and fight. Or are you suggesting they didn’t flee? Why didn’t they stay and fight? Or was it the case they (and the Americans and Australians) lost? Perish the thought.

    As always Sparta – simplistic conclusions to complex problems. But if you want to understand that you might consider reading the link to LP I provided above.

    Go on! Be brave, I dare you,

  23. N5 – “we?”

    True, respect for ANZAC Day is not universal, but the level and volume of criticism and objection to the day that I recall during the early to mid 70s, is a whisper by comparison these days. Then the “ANZAC Day glorifies war “sentiment was mainstream, today it is isolated to a marginalised minority.

    Many of those that shouted abuse at the Vietnam vets at the time probably feel as sense of guilt now. Back then I would have been entirely willing to participate in the shouting. I’m glad mum didn’t let me; I’d certainly regret it by now.

    “Politics, broadly defined, is always part of life. ‘Sincere beliefs’ shouldn’t get a free ride”

    Good perspective. I agree that simply being apolitical, particularly in a religious sense, doesn’t and shouldn’t provide any immunity from social/political criticism.

    Though I think that during cultural/religious commemorations or celebrations it is appropriate to refrain from criticism of the institutions that support that culture/religion.

    While I’m in no way religious, I was reflecting on the respectful ANZAC Day comments posted here and elsewhere, and compared them to some of the sentiments expressed on open threads here during Easter.

    I was surprised by the lack of sensitivity (and a level of derision) expressed by some that would normally purport to show sensitivity.

  24. Nature,

    “And if you do you might want to look at the hard graphic evidence of the atrocities committed by the US forces”

    Nature can you please provide me one War where either side has been unscathed by such events? Why mention such events and then tell me we shouldn’t go there? I doubt you can fully appreciate that “being there” and “reading from afar after the fact” are not the same thing but yes, debating the Vietnam War is probably not suitable for this post but of course you are the one that instigated such debate by your inability to resist making such comments…You must be expanding your mind at the moment……

    “Some might suggest those friends of yours were the ones who ‘ran away’. Didn’t stay and fight. Or are you suggesting they didn’t flee? Why didn’t they stay and fight? Or was it the case they (and the Americans and Australians) lost?”

    Again, it would be very easy to “break your version of events” apart but doing so here isn’t suitable. However, is this an example of your “complex” understanding of events genius?

    “As always Sparta – simplistic conclusions to complex problems. But if you want to understand that you might consider reading the link to LP I provided above.”

    Yawn…..You consider your drug induced opinions “sophisticated”….Not surprising you offer a link that will help me “understand” the “truth” no doubt….LOL indeed…It is amusing indeed you offer a link from another “brainwashed” idiot….Yes, her version of the “truth” must be the product of an “objective analysis” because at her age (with her brain still not fully developed) she understands the wider world (more like your drug induced version of it, great minds think alike). She certainly has a future as a hard news reporter offering her “objective” opinion nightly…..Go smoke another bowl already, you hippie……

    “Rather than talk of courage, battling odds and so on, it seems undercut with a recognition that no one’s armies are special, soldiers are just ordinary citizens, war is a tragedy and if we can’t guarantee it will never happen again, at least we can pray, and mourn the waste previous generations have both engendered and suffered from. Truly, there are no winners in a war, but I feel ANZAC Day is an attempt to posit otherwise.”

    This is here masterful conclusion…Notice her dismissive tone….No winners….Yes love, like stomping out murderous dictators the world over…You should have just let Japan march into Darwin and beyond, we should just let the world fall into the hands of religious zealots….LOL….I suppose we should just turn the cheek in the face of such aggression or put our heads in the sand…Yes, that’s it…Yes, brilliant, you must be high Nature or really just that stupid……..LOL…..

  25. Tom,

    “I was surprised by the lack of sensitivity (and a level of derision) expressed by some that would normally purport to show sensitivity.”

    You shouldn’t be mate, as I mention above, their purported sensitivity, activism and cry for free speech are selectively reserved for those whom they agree with, “only”……Otherwise, you are any number of slants, depending on the issue…..in this case people like myself or you for that matter would most likely be called “war mongers or armchair warriors” by the thought police…..Again, this should be a day to remember real sacrifice but some simply can’t resist nor let go of their youthful imbecilities…..

  26. “It is a pity though, that we have not learnt to show similar respect to those that hold sincere beliefs in other apolitical areas, such as those with sincere religious beliefs.”

    People like the Pope, Jensen, Pell or Nile…?

    Don’t make me laugh.

    Perhaps once religious leaders start earning the respect of the people they’re supposedly meant to “serve” rather than lecturing and condemning them, they might actually get some.

  27. reb, on April 26th, 2009 at 8:22 am

    Umm, aren’t they meant to be serving whatever their conception is of the big G over-man and leading, not serving those they are meant to be leading to the promised land?

  28. Legion,

    Yeah him too.

    But aren’t they also meant to be doing good things for their fellow man/woman rather than just castigating him/her to hell…!!

  29. “castigating him/her to hell”

    Are you referring to the PM?

  30. LOL Scaper..

    I can see it now:

    “Any bank that doesn’t pass on any further RBA rate cut will be going straight to hell!!”

    “Anyone that doesn’t spend their nine hundred bucks on useless consumerables will be destined to spend eternity in hell and damnation!!”

    So sayeth Rev Kev.

  31. John McPhilbin, on April 25th, 2009 at 7:28 am

    Mine duty is simply to remember that all life is a sacred gift. To that extent, John, I can lend support to all those involved in that thing called war as people, and recognise their experiences as part of a holism which has the peaceful enjoyment of life by all as its aim, but I can never honour warriors as an especial class of people abstracted from context, or reified in the abstract and mythologised because of that context, nor the war itself. I think that understanding is compatible with your caring sentiments, John, and would hope that in the many struggles of life and of death, that caring ethic becomes the foremost duty to observe, howsoever and wheresoever and by whomsoever it is to be observed and to whom it is owed. And that is how I remember to honour all – every last man, woman, child, donkey, lone pine, and blade of grass of them.

  32. “but I can never honour warriors as an especial class of people abstracted from context”

    \Yes, because you too would be willing to give your own life in the service of something greater then yourself? Yea right, no surprise here whatsoever…..context, you mean like in the defense of your country?

  33. Or in the defense of the helpless, risking life and limb? Again, not suprised……

  34. I hope they have got good lighting and sound system in hell.

    Oh, and plenty of room to boogie as the PM of the war on everything and the eternal consignment to hell is going to fill the place up!

    Might have to decentralise hell to the outskirts of damnation…Crapperhell!

  35. Reb – “Perhaps once religious leaders start earning the respect of the people they’re supposedly meant to “serve” rather than lecturing and condemning them, they might actually get some.”

    I don’t have any problem at all with this.

    My point was not even directed to your comments. Though I think that during cultural/religious events/celebrations/commemorations it is reasonable to allow devotees to engage without too much hectoring from the sidelines.

    That should wait for a less sensitive time.

    Heavens, I’m an ardent devotee of hectoring, heckling and annoying, so I’m not suggesting a cessation of such commentary, just the timing of it.

  36. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on April 25th, Said

    You consider your drug induced opinions “sophisticated”….

    drug induced ? Oh dear this Possum is indeed off with the fairies. But wait there’s more:

    Go smoke another bowl already, you hippie

    smoke another bowl? hippie?. Clearly lost in the past. Lol. But can anyone explain what Sparta is talking about re ‘bowl’? Is he dyslexic? Or am I completely out of touch with the modern vernacular?

    Now I know that Sparta is not the sharpest knife in the drawer (I’ll bet he doesn’t know that the most recent public figure to be in awe of Sparta was Adolf Hitler himself which is quite ironic given the reference

    to murderous dictators the world over

    But this latest ad hominem attack suggest a personal drug problem that hasn’t been disclosed, overtly at least. Lol.

    Then Sparta says:

    Yes, brilliant, you must be high Nature or really just that stupid

    must be high Nature? Really? High?

    But I love the last boast:

    Again, it would be very easy to “break your version of events”

    Promises! Promises! Promises! Lol.

  37. Laughing…..

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/guide/902/

    Here Nature, your entire life in 20 min…”How you changed the world”…..LOL…..

  38. I knew a man who served in Gallipoli. Sometime in the 1960s my brother tried to prompt him to talk of the experience.

    He broke down and cried.

    What is that horrible in a man’s life that reduces him to tears 50 years later?

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