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Waterford, Jack: Let’s re-imagine Anzac Day and phase out ADF and RSL’s ownership

Jack Waterford

Let’s re-imagine Anzac Day and phase out ADF and RSL’s ownership‘, Pearls and Irritations, 21 July 2021

Our War Memorial commemorates all Australians, professional or civilian, who have died on active service, and makes no distinctions between them. But it was never intended to be a temple of war, or of the military art or vocation …

Returned ADF have a role at the memorial. Properly the ADF itself should have no role in running it …

But it is time for the democratisation of the memorial, and a rededication to the purpose of acknowledging sacrifice and comradeship, as well as a memorial to the horrors of war. And a great centre from which history can be seen and studied, if not exalted and extolled. We do not want the deeds of men and women submerged in a vast gallery of military toys and tatt, weapons of war, and interactive games or sights. Still less do we want its solemnity or purpose mocked by shrines and inscriptions to the armaments industry.

Note that Reserve Major General Greg Melick is a member of the Council of the Memorial and the current National President of the RSL. A former RSL National President, Rear Admiral Ken Doolan (Ret’d) was simultaneously Chair of the Memorial Council.

Author is former editor of the Canberra Times and now a columnist with that paper.