Reflecting on Anzac

Major mug LRIt’s the time of year again to pause to Remember Them, and reflect on what sacrifice means, writes Major Blunder.

Before dawn on the 25th thousands of us across the country will rise quietly – not really the morning for a boisterous start to the day – possibly consume a sustaining draught, and make our way to cenotaphs and memorials both great and small, sometimes more than once in the day.

One has been attending Dawn Services for some time, rain, hail, fog or crystal clear morning, and if you, Gentle reader, have not, perhaps this year is the one to start, to build you up for 2015. One must say that by comparison to the privations experienced by the ANZACs, a bit of rain is nothing to complain about. If the Veterans can still make it, so can I.

This annual quasi-pilgrimage – one has never been able to afford the real thing – is certainly growing in popularity once again; crowds seem to be constantly growing. New immigrants to these cloudy shores must find it a little odd at first, but they too turn out to mark a significant day in the history of their new home, learning a bit more about what it means to be a Kiwi each time.

This is a significant day for us for so many reasons, let alone the more obvious ones, and as such the very idea of “Mondayising” it like just another holiday is reprehensible, insulting, condescending and just down-right wrong. This is not a day to “take some time off”, a mere holiday, this is a commemoration and it falls on the anniversary of the action remembered, not some other convenient time to garner votes, political clout, or communal goodwill towards those who claim to serve us.

Nor should the cries to have businesses open on the morning be given credence. If your business cannot survive without trading on the 3½ days a year when the law says you should be closed, it may be time for you to sell up and allow someone competent to take over – how on earth would you have coped in the days before weekend trading, one wonders.

ANZAC Day is a day to remember; a day to consider our own trials through different glasses; a day for reflection; perhaps even a day for a reality check in more modern parlance. One has to admit that when the going gets tough, as it does at times, even for a Modern Victorian, one has found oneself asking, “What would Colonel Mallone do?” – a rather handy exercise in re-grounding oneself.

Take the time, Gentle Reader, if you can, and attend a Dawn Service this year. It is almost always moving, a trifle sombre, but quite uplifting, too.

Major Blunder, Officer Commanding, Fifth Waikato Dragoons Regiment, Northern Command, Alf’s Imperial Army. Humour in Uniform. Visit the website here.

Anzac Day service
Take part in an Anzac service this Thursday in Gordonton. The morning will include reading the Rolls of Honour, laying of wreaths, singing and prayers. Followed by a community lunch in the hall. Also feel free to attend an informal dawn gathering by the Cenotaph.
When: Thursday 25 April, Where: Gordonton Cenotaph and community hall from 10am.

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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