‘Leadership in the face of Anzackery’, Noel Turnbull (blog) 29 August 2016
Another to add to our series ‘Australia’s Vietnam War – and keeping it in context‘.
The author has been a journalist, academic, public relations consultant, and author – and is a Vietnam veteran. He says: ‘The continued militarisation of Australian history and the consequent manufacture of ignorance about both our general and our military history suffered a minor setback the other day’.
The author refers to the sensible and balanced reaction of Colonel Harry Smith to events at Long Tan recently. ‘The setback was largely due to the intelligent leadership of someone who knows much more about military history than the politicians who cloak themselves in the flag and foster the myths about Gallipoli as the defining national Australian event.’
The author analyses what happened at Long Tan 2016 looking at the role of battlefield tour organisers, staff from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and ‘the military commemoration industry’. He finishes with a yarn which contrasts ersatz and genuine commemoration.
The author uses the term ‘Anzackery’, which is now defined in the Australian National Dictionary as ‘‘[t]he promotion of the Anzac legend in ways that are perceived to be excessive or misguided’. More (scroll down to ‘Anzackery’ sub-heading).