As we head towards ANZAC Day this year, we will be remembering the sacrifice of many in a very different way. The significant community services that we have taken as assumed in recent years will not be available. The purpose of the day remains the same. It has always been a day to remember.
The sacrifice made by many, in the defence of our nation, is the central theme that marks the day. In the modern era, we recognise the contribution of men and women. The day is an opportunity to reflect on the many ways Australians have been called on to contribute. We remember the civilians who worked at home, as well as those in uniform. There is no escape that war has impact on the nation. There is much to remember.
Some years ago, while reading the Peter Fitzsimmons book Gallipoli , I came across the story of nurse Lydia King and an army officer Gordon Carter. It struck me as a different story to come from the experience of war. Essentially, it is a story that gently unfolds the developing relationship between the two. They sail on different ships from Australia in the early part of the war and they meet while waiting for the first battles to begin. As relationships go, it is a chance meeting that has a calm beginning. While they did not define themselves as being in a relationship, they met for pleasant ‘day out’ moments. While they waited in Cairo they rode donkeys, visited the Sphinx and the zoo. It was not a relationship with commitments as the war had priority. With the war becoming more complex, the relationship was a secondary concern. Gordon gained progressive promotion and responsibility. Lydia was busy with her nursing duties. Gordon sustained a significant injury that required a time back in Australia. He returns to the front and they meet again. The story ends well. They marry and have five children.
My point is, that in the midst of war there is life. The people who go to war are the everyday people of a generation. They have hopes and dreams. War ends the dreams for some. It is a traumatic experience for most. But those who are called to war are people of their time required by circumstance. We hope that these demands not be the reality of our time. I would hope all would feel the sincerity of gratitude that our generation owes those of past eras.
I do hope all families spend time considering the sacrifice of those who contributed to past conflicts.
You can follow the story of Lydia and Gordon quite easily by using the index in the Fitzsimmons book. It is a beautiful story and one that reminds us of the simple humanity of those who went to war. Their life story is so like ours. For most of us, we have had the good fortune to have not been called to war.
Glennie staff members, students and family members have produced this wonderful ANZAC Day Commemoration service, I hope you enjoy it.
Mr Peter Crawley