‘Anzac Day at Wallendbeen’, Honest History, 22 May 2014
Genevieve Jacobs gave the 2014 Anzac Day address at Wallendbeen, NSW (population 316). She is a presenter with ABC Local Radio, Canberra.
310 Jacobs Wallendbeen The speech questions high profile commemoration and suggests we need to return to a quieter version of Anzac Day. This is directly relevant to how we ‘use’ Anzac Day in a forward-looking sense.
I think, in fact, the greatest act of patriotism we can undertake is to keep watch on where we are going as a nation, not to betray ourselves and the memory of our fallen soldiers with cheap jingoism and easy commercialisation.
There is so much that is decent and honourable and proud and good about this great Anzac tradition of ours. It is knitted into all our hearts as we stand here in Wallendbeen, as people are standing at war memorials in communities big and small all round Australia without fanfare, without drama, many of us with our private memories and our private grief.
And perhaps we need to pause sometimes for less fanfare – and more silence. For less noise and more space. For the small and quiet moments of reflection about the price we all pay and what it is for.