Today my country commemorates the futile slaughter of young men in a foreign land, a huge loss in battle, tactical errors and sheer stupidity, that sent a generation to their deaths. We continue to remember them, now 99 years on. This same week the Australian government, between forecasts of austerity measures, announced a purchase of 58 fighter jets for $12Billion. The horror of this juxtaposition was eloquently made by Australian national treasure Michael Leunig.
As in year’s past, I commemorated Anzac Day by going to the Dawn Service in my village of Willunga. This year more people than ever and for the first time a recognition of the Aboriginal soldiers who fought in WW1 and WW2 long before they were granted the vote in 1967 (another travesty). A young student from the local primary school told the story of a friend of her great grandfather who had fought along side him who was an Aboriginal man with distinguished military service, she was followed by a fellow student who told of his grandfather who was German and lied about his nationality so he could join the armed forces for Australia and serve during WW2. As the flag moved from being at half mast to being raised towards the end of the ceremony, there were no jet fighter pilots accompanied by a sonic boom, but instead the gentle cooing of doves and as if on cue, accompanied by the morning song of magpies, a flock of birds flew over head.
I was deeply touched by creation having the last word. As dawn broke and the bugle mourned, a glorious day was revealed, with no wind at all. The flag remained unfurled with no billow in its sail.
Victim impact statement. Silent and still in meditation. Downcast. Weeping.