Today is ANZAC Day. For me, it’s the most significant public holiday on Australia’s calendar. The rest tend to surround religious occasions that I don’t truly follow, celebrate the birthday of a queen from another country, or a 3minute horse race!
But ANZAC day is different. It’s a day to remember fallen soldiers in all the wars Australia has participated in (too many for my liking). Sadly there are very few soldiers remaining from World War 1, where the ANZAC spirit originated, but the resurgence of this holiday will hopefully mean that their sacrifices won’t be forgotten. Its also the time to actively support the current troops on deployment around the world. Whether I agree with the political reasons for soldiers overseas or not, they are there and they are doing their best to keep me and my family safe.
So I thought it important to explain the whole shebang to the kids. In fact, its something I wish was in the curriculum at school more. I read my kids a story last night to explain the idea of war and loss to young children, just as I did with the kids at school.
This foreword in the book was a great explanation for the kids. It was in simple terms and covered some of the details that were a bit fuzzy in my memory.
We made it to the dawn service, today. We have been to the mid-morning service before, but I liked the idea of sacrificing a small amount of sleep to honour the returned and fallen diggers. The kids got up very early without any fuss and peppered us with questions as we drove to our local memorial. I was totally astounded by the amount of people there, thousands I’m sure.
Next year represents 100yrs since the beginning of World War 1, so we might venture to the dawn service at the Shrine of Rememberance in Melbourne. And one day, I’ll make it to a dawn service in Gallipolli ~ it’s on my bucket list.
In some people’s eyes, the ANZAC Day footy between Essendon and Collingwood detracts from the significance of the day (I know my whole family will be glued to the TV this afternoon). But if, like me, you have ever made it to the game and been part of the 1 minute of silence amongst 80,000 people filling the MCG, and then listening to that single bugle playing the ‘Last Post’ it sends chills down your spine!
Megan suggested we tackle ANZAC biscuits after she made them at crèche yesterday, so that’s on the agenda for today as well. A bit of history around the yummy, chewy biscuits while cooking them together. Nice!!
Last Year, my grade 2 students got onto this website from the RSL and were able to plant a virtual poppy. I looked at this site about a week before Remembrance Day last year and the fields were almost empty. After Remembrance Day there were no spaces left to plant your poppy. The virtual fields were absolutely filled with messages of love and support. Such a beautiful idea. I’m guessing it will be just the same today.
Patriotic isn’t often a term used to describe Australians. Not saying that we aren’t, just that ‘patriotism’ seems a bit full-on. We are a bit more laid back than that. But getting together with your local community for this important memorial is a pretty good crack it it, I reckon!