Honour Tasmanian's veterans on ANZAC Day
Opinion piece published in The Examiner, 21 April 2020 (available here).
Life is certainly different. Jarringly different.
So too, will Anzac Day 2020 be different. Very different.
No marches, no parades, no dawn services, no mingling for a coffee or community breakfast afterwards, or a few beers at the RSL or pub.
Nevertheless, we can and should commemorate our veteran community, especially the over 102,000 of our fellow Australians that made the ultimate selfless sacrifice for our benefit.
We can all do the right thing by tuning in at 5.30 am on Anzac Day to The Australian War Memorial's nationally broadcast service which will be available on ABC TV, ABC Radio, Facebook and iView. Let's all make the effort to set our alarms to honour our defence personnel and watch the service.
After which we can participate in one minute's silence at either 6 am or 11.30 am if not both. There will also be a special Tasmanian commemorative service broadcast at 11.30 am on ABC Northern Tasmania.
While the social side of Anzac Day is denied us this year it affords us the opportunity to engage in some deeper introspection reminding ourselves of the selfless bravery and commitment to our future to which our defence personnel dedicated their service.
They believed it was worthwhile to commit in as serious manner as is possible to the protection and defence of the virtues that underpin our society and which we all too often take as a given. Virtues such as our freedoms to speak and worship and to own property.
The virtues of democracy, the rule of law, and a civilised society. Regrettably, a very few still suggest that commemorating Anzac Day is a glorification of war. This is simply untrue. It would be like suggesting Easter is a glorification of crucifixions. If that is your view you've completely lost the plot.
At Easter, we celebrate the selfless sacrifice of our Lord that we might have the blessing of eternal life. Similarly, with Anzac Day we commemorate the selfless sacrifice by our defence personnel that enables us to live in freedom and in a civilised society.
Thankfully the Anzac Day detractors are diminishing in number as the numbers at dawn services swell to record levels with the attendance of younger people.
In Tasmania, we have 10,500 war veterans and ex-service personnel. Our gratitude can be expressed by participating in commemorations and also in our day to day activities with each other in our families, workplaces and society at large asking how we can be of service.
We have many people already living such a life of service. The Headstone Project which provides headstones to the unmarked graves of our WW1 veterans, Legacy, the RSL'S, and those pursuing a VC for our very own Teddy Sheean.
Not everyone is suited to our military but everyone is suited to making a contribution to our fellow Australians through community organisations. This would be a great way for us to show we have not forgotten the service of our veterans.
Lest we forget.