Daley, Paul: ‘As long as we always remember them’ (Remembrance Day 2010)

Paul Daley

As long as we always remember them…‘, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 November 2010

Compares Australian attitudes to Remembrance and Anzac Days, suggesting this grew from the early attitudes of the Diggers, who felt the former day was more about commemoration of those who died, the latter more about the endurance of those who survived.

Once a year [on Anzac Day] the Diggers – united by their unspeakable experiences – marched and reminisced, played two-up and got plastered, then returned their uniforms to their closets and did their best to cope for another year … They endured. Just as their families endured their terrible survivor guilt and their prickliness, their physical wounds and their no-less-debilitating emotional scars … Anzac, with all its truth, with all its legend and all its many myths is all about endurance …

The first Anzac Day in 1916 had at its core the acknowledgement of what the survivors of Gallipoli – and especially those who were injured and maimed there – would endure. It was about the obligation (always pitifully unmet in my view) that a new country would have to its men who had sacrificed their youth, their optimism, and their physical and mental well-being to the war effort.

Also notes the rapid dwindling in recruitment during World War I as news came through from the war front. The author writes again about Remembrance Day here, emphasising the community efforts after World War I to build monuments. A related piece by another author is here while this is a comparative assessment of Anzac/Gallipoli and the Western Front as objects of commemoration.

 

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