Day 61 - Ending war with our thoughts of love

We celebrated Anzac Day in Australia a couple of days ago, and again it confused me. Every year on this national day of remembrance I wonder about what the day aims to achieve and what I am supposed to do.

I don't remember "remembering" on this day in my childhood. If there were dawn services held in the small town where I grew up, we never went. If anything, this would have just been the day when I thought about war and asked my mother and father about what happened to them.

So I would listen to their stories of the horror they went through as children in WWII.

I'm sure there is so much that they did not tell us and there are only a few examples that come to mind now, as I type and my tears fall. These must be the stories that had the greatest impact on me. And I cry because the hurt, the pain, the suffering they endured, should not have to ever be experienced by a child.

In particular I think of how they came and took my fathers parents away. He was 11 years old and left to fend for himself and three younger siblings. His parents were never seen again. I think of him stealing food in order to simply survive. I think of my mother, 5 years old with no possessions, walking the streets of a destroyed city holding her mothers hand. Her father was also taken off to a concentration camp. I think of the horrific situation that resulted in my mothers crippled hand.

I am Australian
I was born in Australia
My ancestors are German
My attitude towards war is different
to my fellow Australians
whose ancestors were Diggers

I feel so very deeply for my parents and wish that they never had to experience what they went through in war. How would their lives be now if they hadn't? They would be completely different people. Living through that war shaped the rest of their lives and continues to effect them to this day and every day.

In my mother I see how she now cherishes her freedom, lives each day as a gift and I am inspired by her positive outlook. In my father I see a man who has still not come to terms with childhood events, which shaped him to have deep rooted, underlying anger and fear. We all wish that he could find a way to explore and come to terms with his suppressed memories and issues, but he has just blocked it.

Now, on Anzac day I also think of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought at Gallippoli and lost their lives. I think of all subsequent Australian soldiers who have fought for our country, such that I may enjoy my current freedoms. I give thanks to them and I discuss war history with my children and encourage them to remember and give thanks for the liberties we enjoy in this society.

"Lest We Forget"

a phrase used in commonwealth countries to remind people:
1 ) of the supreme sacrifice made by soldiers to protect
the independence we enjoy today
2 ) that if the horror of past wars are forgotten
they are doomed to be repeated

Really? If we forget what happened... it will be repeated... ???
So, if we remember... then it wont happen again... ???

It has been 96 years since the landing at Anzac Cove. We have been remembering the bloodshed for nearly 100 years... yet it's still happening. We still have soldiers overseas fighting other peoples battles. 

Expressing gratitude certainly has it's place, and I honor that, but "Lest we Forget" ... ?

We know that focusing on the past does not equip us to become open to allow for a brighter future. What about a National-Think-About-Future-Peace-Day? Where we come together to think about a future global community with no hatred, greed, anger or war. Where we learn about what each and every one of us can do to contribute to global peace. Much more productive than remembering past atrocities, I reckon.

We currently do not have conscription in Australia. Our armed forces personnel choose that profession. They choose a career where they may be required to go into battle, and then when we have a war casualty, everyone is up in arms over it and sorry for the person and their family and we have grand public funerals.
I don't understand it.
Our government goes though such pomp and ceremony and great financial expense for war and war victims who chose to put themselves in the line of fire.
What if our government (not to mention all the governments of the world) put these financial resources towards the National-Think-About-Future-Peace campaign.
What if no-one in our country chose to join the armed forces. There would be no Australians to send to Afghanistan! Would our Government then introduce compulsory military service?

The Herald Sun asked a 16 year old what Anzac Day meant to him and how he plans to celebrate it. His reply was, "Nothing. It means nothing to me". I read facebook comments where people could not believe this was published. They thought it was disrespectful and said "Shame on them".
I ask, what is so wrong with this? If there is a group within society that does not follow the tradition of the majority, is that such a bad thing? I would expect any newspaper to accurately report on the views of a cross section of our community.
According to the Australian Government's Department of Immigration and Citizenship, at 30 June 2009 one quarter (5.8 million) of our estimated residential population (22 million) were born overseas. Excluding the 1.7 million people from the United Kingdom and New Zealand, we still have 18.6% of our population who may not have a great affinity with the Anzac tradition at all.

So on the afternoon of Anzac day I went out in the garden to clear my mind. The dilemma of understanding where I fit in with this Australian tradition of remembering war heros was doing my head in.

I got the axe and let out my inner turmoil on a golden palm and a flame tree. I certainly cleared some crap out of the front garden bed! It grew dark and I had to stop, but I'm far from finished pruning back that area where the branches are (god-forbid) interfering with the Bigpond cable.

After taking this photo of my cleared garden crap,
I started taking pictures of leaves against the darkened sky
and got lost in the moment.

I marvelled in the effect of lit foliage against a black background.

There is a solution to stop future war

It requires input from every individual on this planet.
YOU can start to bring about the change
that will result in world peace.

YOU have the power

Please read this note my Mike Robinson.
It's a thought provoking article
that can have world changing results.

What if every person on this planet understood the effects of their thoughts, words & actions
and brought forth a life filled with love, compassion, joy and freedom?

Crap Cleared: A whole heap of front garden branches

Observations: My lengthy contemplation and hesitation over this post, describing some of my views on a topic near and dear to many people's hearts, shows I have not fully reconciled my inner need to be looked upon in a good light by others. But to openly state my true thoughts on a somewhat controversial issue and be willing to accept any type of feedback is demonstrating my growing internal conciliation.

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