ANZAC Day is about remembering not celebrating.
Originally established to mark the landing of Australian New Zealand Army Corp forces on the Gallipoli Peninsular to fight the Turks in 1915, ANZAC Day has evolved to remember Kiwis who fought in WW1, WW2 and other wars.
My first recollection of ANZAC Day was as a Boy Scout placing a wreath of flowers at the Woodville war memorial. Later, I learnt of my Father’s involvement on the HMS Achilles warship at the 1939 Battle of the River Plate in South America. Dad, like many other returnees from war did not attend ANZAC Day services, as they sort to forget the horrors of war.
Yet more recently, attendance at ANZAC Day religious-like ceremonies has markedly increased for people of all ages. The reason for attending is not about celebrating warfare or the glories of victory, but rather remembering and honouring past Kiwi sacrifices. The widespread unquestioning support for involvement in previous wars is unlikely in our present society.
The ANZAC Day remembrance of Kiwis who gave their lives to preserve our country’s freedom, lends itself to another story… that of Jesus who gave His life to preserve a different sort of freedom, the freedom to live and know God.
They died for our country… Jesus died for our world…
Let’s tell both stories.