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Monday, April 24, 2006

The Spirit of Anzac in the struggle for Peace

It is ANZAC Day tomorrow. Now Miss Eagle has seen more Anzac Days than she cares to acknowledge. She has done Dawn Services, Parades, Church Parades with the ultimate being back in 2001 when Miss Eagle and her sister did the Dawn Service at the War Memorial in Canberra.

This year I am not feeling up to any of this.

Miss Eagle's family have done their bit - Gallipoli, France, Malaya, Borneo, MacArthur's return to the Phillilpines, Coastwatching in New Guinea, Occupation Troops in Japan, Korea. As well, there is Uncle Jack - the war historian. No males went to Vietnam but Miss Eagle thought long and hard about war in this period and became a pacifist. Miss Eagle is not anti-Defence Forces and, if she was to become the Benevolent Dictator of Australia (BDA for short), there would still be an Army, Navy, and Air Force - if only to help out in cyclones and floods. As BDA, Miss Eagle supports policing type military actions such as East Timor and Cambodia and various UN Peacekeeping missions.

But Miss Eagle is feeling war-weary.

She believes in the solemnity and sacredness of Anzac Day: remembering the fallen and those who have gone before and honouring their service to the Nation. What wearies Miss Eagle is that we do not seem to learn. Australia is still going off to battles that are initiated by others and serves a foreign purpose more than Australia's own. In short, when are we going to turn the commemorative ideal around that focuses on fishing the bodies out of the water and, in addition, focus on stopping the bodies going in.

Miss Eagle does not want to politicise the Spirit of Anzac - but when can we have a national day in which we work towards Peace, highlight Peace and Peaceworkers, and seek to understand, strategise for and glorify Peace? When?