ANZAC Day protests

Alison Mau write about: Anzac Day – a time for protest or quiet reflection?

Free speech versus the right to a peaceful commemoration of our sacred day. Which one to choose?

The video of 12-year-old James Broome-Isa’s tirade against the protesters at the Wellington Cenotaph on Anzac Day was hard to watch. Visceral, even.

I don’t like critiquing people’s parenting, and I won’t in this case. I know I would have looked with patience and perhaps with pride on a child of mine who’d offered their considered opinion in that situation; after a minute though, I would have called a halt to the shouting and ushered the child away. That’s just me.

And I get where James was coming from. I’m amazed and warmed by the way Kiwis have embraced Anzac Day in the past couple of decades.

Here, we see young people marching with the veterans in solemn pride, wearing the medals of their grandfathers and great grandfathers.

The amazement part is because it wasn’t a

New Zealand RSA President BJ Clark told me it’s been much the same for a couple of generations of Kiwis; no-one was taught the history of New Zealanders at war for a long stretch (it’s worth noting that the New Zealand Wars still don’t figure on the curriculum).

Now the young people are leading the way, he says; the swelling crowds at 268 Anzac Day ceremonies around the country are a direct result of educating young Kiwis about the sacrifices made by their ancestors.

Should we be condoning protest on Anzac Day, then? Perhaps unsurprisingly, Clark says no. Politics has no place on that day, he says, or at that place.

“Our place,” is how he repeatedly referred to the Cenotaph. Our day. A day to remember those killed in wars across the world.

The protest in Wellington was silent and mild, for sure, but more particularly, he says, this is a day for returned service people to remember those they served alongside. Those people do not need the distraction of a protest on their day of remembrance.

Clark admits though, that protest and the right to speak our minds is exactly what generations of Kiwis have gone to war to protect. He mentions this several times, and understands that, well, there’s the rub.

Yep, there’s the rub.

When I initially saw the young guy admonishing the protesters for it being inappropriate on ANZAC Day I agreed.

But when I thought more about it I found that I also agreed with the right of the protesters to peacefully make their point, whether I agreed with it or not.

ANZAC Day has changed a lot over my lifetime. My father was one of the younger returned servicemen when I used to go on marches and sit through speeches at the town hall, then went home not to see my Dad for the rest of the day. But he’s been dead for 17 years, and there are very few of his fellows from the RSA still alive.

Those who have served later have been allowed to participate. Vietnam vets were contentious but were eventually deemed to be deserving of recognition too.

Why not also commemorate the civilian victims of wars? Often many more of them die and suffer than soldiers, and they are largely innocent victims.

Peace protests and conscientious objections have also been important aspects of wars.

Whether I agree with their message or not peaceful and respectful protest should be an acceptable part of ANZAC Day events. There is no set definition of what should be said or done, and nor should there be.

Blogs on ANZAC Day

David Farrar has a very sobering reminder of the size of war casualties in Lest we forget:

  • 1914 – 1918 WWI – 17 million killed
  • 1917 – 1921 Russian Civil War – 6.7 million killed
  • 1927 – 1949 Chinese Civil War – 8 million killed
  • 1936 – 1939 Spanish Civil War – 700k killed
  • 1939 – 1945 WWII – 60 million killed
  • 1950 – 1953 Korean War – 1.3 million killed
  • 1954 – 1962 Algerian War – 700k killed
  • 1955 – 1975 Vietnam War – 1.5 million killed
  • 1966 – 1970 Nigerian Civil War – 1.7 million killed
  • 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War 300k killed
  • 1980 – 1988 Iran-Iraq War – 600k killed
  • 1983 – 2005 Second Sudanese Civil War – 1.4 million killed
  • 1998 – 2003 Second Congo War – 3.6 million killed
  • 1979 – 2000 Afghanistan War – 2.6 million killed
  • 2001 – 2013 War on Terror – 600k killed

WWI saw 42% of New Zealand men (of fighting age) serving in the NZ Forces. 103,000 served, 17,000 died and 41,000 were wounded.

Both my grandfathers served in WW1, although one was as a British soldier (and was seriously injured). Two great-uncles were killed in action.

Quiet at The Standard so far on Anzac Day.

Lest we forget.

There is a list of Anzac Day services here, and a list of peace vigils here.

An appropriate day to contemplate “the meaning of honour”.

The Daily Blog: TDB will livestream alternative ANZAC Day commemorations 11am Tuesday

Auckland Peace Action are hosting an alternative ANZAC Day service 11am from the Band Rotunda at the Auckland Domain.

That was well down their dog’s breakfast home page.

Whale Oil has started off just about exclusively ANZAC orientated:

Cameron Slater: This is my ANZAC Day trib­ute post­ing. ANZAC Day means a great deal for me and my fam­ily. I sup­pose it is because we have a con­nec­tion to the orig­i­nal ANZACS in 1915 and Gal­lipoli and to a vet­eran of a war much fresher in our minds, Viet Nam.

 

ANZAC editorials

Not surprisingly ANZAC Day is prominent in today’s newspaper editorials.

ODT: Remembering those who serve

Early today, thousands of New Zealanders will meet at war memorials throughout the country to remember soldiers and support staff who died serving their country in far-away battlefields.

Interest in Anzac Day, commemorated, celebrated and remembered in many parts of the world, has grown exponentially in recent years. It is a phenomenon. From small intimate services held in New Zealand and Australian towns, the services have grown to large gatherings involving several generations of families touched in one way or another by the wars New Zealand has been involved in. Family members proudly wear the medals of their loved ones who fought, and sometimes died, in the service of their country.

As the World War 2 veterans age, their numbers are replaced by men and women who served in Asian campaigns. Being a veteran from Vietnam has not always been seen as something of which to be proud. In the United States, Vietnam veterans had to continue their fight for justice after the war became so demonised. In New Zealand, acceptance has become easier.

Soldiers do not often get a choice about where they serve and it is fitting, as a country, New Zealand can openly acknowledge the pain and suffering of many veterans from campaigns stretching from Europe, the Middle East through to Asia and Afghanistan.

Dominion Post: On Anzac Day we also mourn for Turkish democracy

New Zealand and Turkey have a special Anzac bond. The conflict that divided them at Gallipoli now brings them together each year. Anzac Day celebrations in Turkey usually attract thousands of New Zealanders who receive a warm welcome there.

Gallipoli played an important part too in the development of both countries. It is sometimes said that the New Zealand experience at Gallipoli and the Western front in World War 1 helped make us an independent nation. In the fires of war we supposedly forged a new sense of our country and its strengths. There is at least some truth in this.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who once visited New Zealand, is now a clear threat to Turkish democracy. He has become a despotic populist in the mould of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who observes the forms of democracy while subverting its deepest values.

Erdogan has preyed on his country’s fears – of refugees, terrorists and an over-powerful army – and has as a result merely heightened the violence that now marks everyday life in Turkey.

The demagogue is the true enemy of democracy, because he undermines everything central to it: human rights, respect for minorities, the rule of law and the necessity of checks and balances.

Today’s Anzac-Turkish commemorations in Gallipoli take place under the threat of terrorist attack in a country that is splintering.

That is a tragedy which will reverberate in New Zealand on this special day.

The Press: We must support our war veterans of all ages

We remember the dead on Anzac Day today, but the poppies that we wear were sold to raise funds for the living – to provide support for veterans needing help.

New Zealand has about 31,000 veterans of operational military service overseas and about two-thirds of them served after the Vietnam War, which ended in 1975.

They served in deployments, and on peacekeeping and aid missions, in places as diverse as Iraq and Afghanistan, the former Yugoslavia and Kosovo, the former Rhodesia, Namibia, Sinai, Angola, Cambodia, Mozambique, Somalia, Haiti, Rwanda, Laos, Korea, East Timor, Bougainville and Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Sudan, Lebanon and Syria.

New Zealand on Anzac Day should acknowledge its debt not only to the fallen of wars long past, but also to its veterans still living, old and young. They and the organisations dedicated to helping them deserve the support of the wider community.

Anzac Day, with all its symbolism and acknowledged importance in the story of our nation, loses some of its meaning if this support is not forthcoming. This needs to be an ongoing commitment – the old soldiers’ ranks may be thinning, but younger generations will need help into the future.

It is also important for the younger veterans to know and feel that they are deserving of that support and to not hesitate to ask for help when the going gets tough.

Southland Times: Warfare will keep testing our morality

Warfare can bring out the best in our military, through feats of heroism and mateship. But it is such a hideous, arbitrary business that mistakes, misjudgments and misdeeds can be evoked from decent but fallible men and women.

This year’s Anzac Day comes in the wake of the book Hit & Run which makes the accusation, denied by the Defence Force, that a retaliatory raid in Afghanistan was ill-disciplined, indulgent, and achieved only the death of innocents.

That book starts with the sentence: “In any Anzac Day, someone is sure to talk about honour.”

And it ends like this; “The real message of Anzac Days should be that we do not want to make the same dreadful and unnecessary mistakes over and over again. Facing up to wrongdoing is part of making them less likely to recur. Honour is not about ceremonies, bugles and ribbons. It is about trying to adhere to moral principles and stand up to wrong, especially when it would be easier not to. It requires a special kind of courage.”

Whatever we individually make of the book’s specific contentions and the responses, that last sentiment it holds true.

NZ Herald: Anzac Day issues its enduring call

A centenary of a long war helps us imagine what it must have been like.

Most of us alive today can only imagine what it was like to live through the world wars of last century. It is easier, thanks to books and movies, to imagine the lives of those in combat than for those at home, reading delayed and usually censored news from the battlefronts, seeing the wounded return, dreading the arrival of a grim telegram, trying to say something helpful to those who have received one, living under the shadow of a long war that is taking the lion’s share of the country’s production and so many young lives.

I can’t come close to imagining what it might have been like in any war.

My father missed most of World War 2, serving in Italy at the end of the war (and later in J Force, he brought back a photo of Hiroshima). He said little about his experiences, but told me once about doing sentry duty outside a farmhouse in northern Italy and feeling scared shitless (I don’t recall his exact description) in the dark hearing gun fire in the distance.

He was also involved in the stand off with Yugoslavia in Trieste, where he was billeted in a private home, and took a rifle with him to the movies.

It is coming up 72 years since the second war ended, long enough to believe we will never see war on such a scale again. The weapon that ended the war in the Pacific ensured the major powers maintained an armed peace thereafter but their proxy wars have been threatening enough. The first of them, in Korea, still simmers and poses a challenge to relations between the United States and China today.

But it is not fear or anticipation of being drawn into another war that brings New Zealanders and Australians to their war memorials today. It is quite the opposite, a sense of gratitude that the wars their grandparents won have left an enduring peace.

I’m not sure about all this. Since World War 2 New Zealanders have served in Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia (1,300 served there), Afghanistan, Iraq. Also other places around the world, often as peacekeepers.

I’m not confident the world will avoid another major conflict. There are already multiple countries involved in rising tensions around Korea, and in the ongoing and unresolved mess of the Middle East, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen.

There may never be the number of people called on to serve for their countries.

But there is plenty of scope for and risk of widespread death and destruction around the world.

The nuclear risk always hovers over us menacingly. A major nuclear conflict, no matter where it may be centred (or it could be widely scattered), will impact severely on the whole world.

Nuclear war is unlikely to last anywhere near as long as the world wars of last century, and it won’t require many soldiers, but it’s impact could be easily as devastating, if not more so.

ANZAC Day 2017

25 April 2017

We all have our own ways of doing ANZAC Day and remembering those New Zealanders (and Australians) who served and died overseas in the two World Wars as well as in other conflicts.

Post what you remember and feel about ANZAC Day here.

(This is a pre-ANZAC post that will be carried forward tomorrow)

ANZAC

Missy posted about a visit to Ypres in Belgium last August:

Past ANZAC Day posts:

“New Zealand Soldier” became the “OFFICIAL SONG” of “THE NEW ZEALAND ARMY”.
Dedicated to all those Men and Women who served in the First and Second World Wars and whom are currently serving in the New Zealand Armed Forces:

Conservatives pick very poor fight

The Conservative Party need to try to attract attention, but using war and Anzac Day to do it very poor.

ConservativesAnzacDisgrace

Leighton, this is crappy. Some will see it as disrespectful, even disgraceful.

Conservative Party Leader Leighton Baker, an ANZAC message to New Zealand.

“The Conservative Party is still here, and we are still continuing the fight. People ask what we are fighting for, well we are actually fighting for exactly the same things that our soldiers fought for in WW1 and WW2 and other wars.  We are fighting for our families, we are fighting for our freedom, and we are fighting for democracy.

Years ago in WW1 and 2, our soldiers went offshore and they fought for freedom, democracy and their families. There is another war and that’s going on right here in New Zealand, right now.  We are losing our democracy.  In all the citizens initiated referenda we’ve had, no Government, on either side – left or right, had ever listened to or ever acted on the results.

Life is important to all New Zealanders. From birth, through to the grave, we’ve got to value life. That’s part of who we are as New Zealanders.  We have always done that and that’s what we fought for.

Our families are being destroyed.  We are seeing more and more crime,  suicides and addictions. And why is that? Because there is a disconnect within our families.  That’s where we believe, as the Conservative Party, we need to focus.  We have to focus on families survival.

I would encourage you to get behind the Conservative Party, because our policies are practical, they’re addressing the real issues, and they are real solutions that are not just ‘throw money at it’.

The Conservative Party is a party for all people that want to see a decent society, where we can bring up our children, and our grandchildren, now and into the future”.

War and remembrance of those who have died through Anzac Day should be off limits to tacky political promoters.

The Conservative Party needs support. This is more likely to lose it.

ANZAC Day 2016 – Lest We Forget

In honour of members the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who served during the Great War of 1914–18 and subsequent wars.

ANZAC

“The Last Post” ANZAC anthem by Band of the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery:

Your NZ community tributes:

Pickled Possum:

Lest we forget

THE OFFICIAL 28TH MĀORI BATTALION WEBSITE

WW1 AND WW2 ROLLS

PHOTOS / VIDEO / AUDIO

Missy:

My Grandfather’s Uncle was killed in Belgium during WWI, he was in one of the Otago Regiments (I can’t remember which one off the top of my head), but what was interesting about his death is it wasn’t in any battle, but rather on a recce mission with an officer and 2 other OR’s. I have been to his grave, it is in the Buttes New British Cemetery just out of Ypres.

I would like to however, also offer respect to all of those that are currently, or have previously, served in the NZDF, my experience in general is that the guys and gals in the NZDF are a great group of incredibly professional individuals. What can be achieved in the NZDF in a short period of time, with limited resources, will take some defence forces with greater resources a much longer time. So to all current and previous serving NZDF personnel I salute you, you do a great job, and it is time that we worked harder to look after our young veterans, and we need to take time out this Anzac day to remember it is not just about WWI, or WWII, but also remembering all that have served, and those that have died whilst serving.

Kitty Catkin:

None of my relations were from NZ, but the great-aunts and uncles served in WWII. My mother was a young girl and hoped that it would last long enough for her to join up, as her young aunts looked so glam in their uniforms-they did, too, they were the kind of girls who had them tailor-made rather than wearing army issue, and as they were all as chic as anything, they made army uniform look elegant. I wish that I could say that I looked that good in any uniform I have ever worn. One great-uncle was in Canada and met a Canadian girl-after the war, he went back and married her.

Our neighbour when I was at school had been on Crete and had some interesting stories to tell (he could never eat grapes again, they all became sick to death of them but there was often not much else) The Germans were dopey enough to both attempt to infiltrate the British troops and offer a reward for any of them handed in by the Greeks, Needless to say that the Greeks were not so stupid that they couldn’t tell a German when they met one, and quite a few of these were handed in for the reward-which the Germans had to give those handing them in-after being given a good seeing-to by the finders. The unlucky soldiers were taken to the German HQ in a very sorry state-and the Germans couldn’t say anything, of course😀 Serve the buggers right.

When I was very young, I knew a Gallipoli veteran ! I saw his medals, photos etc. Then the old men were WWI veterans. They were by now very old, and when I was a trainee nurse the ones who were in the geriatric wards were often reliving the war-the horrible parts-in their dreams (nightmares) and, oh horror, those whose minds had gone were likely to be stuck in that timewarp. How appalling to be either reliving it in dreams or all the time.

I was told that some of the Jewish relations were never heard of again, but don’t know who-and my mother knew that if Hitler invaded the UK, she and her family would be Jewish enough to be murdered. She and a schoolfriend (or probably more than one) used to climb up on the school roof (she went off to boarding school at 11) and watch the bombing raids on Belfast docks. I don’t know if there was a rule against this, or whether the school assumed that nobody would be stupid enough to do it.

Gezza:

Still miss the old soldier who begat us. D, 2006, aged 88. Machine gunner. Volunteered. North Africa & Italy. Invalided home from Casino. The only things he’d talk about were the funny things that happened, Montgomery, respect they had for Rommel when he overran their positions, told the British field surgeon to keep working, then released him, and the dreaded 88’s. He wouldn’t go the RSA, only the occasional dawn parade. He felt sometimes they glorified the war instead of just remembering the dead.

– from Looking towards ANZAC Day

Stuff: Quiz: Are you an Anzac history buff?

My paternal grandfather served in France with the New Zealand’s Divisional Engineers, 3rd Field Company.

My maternal grandfather served in France in a Welsh regiment and was badly injured. He moved his family to New Zealand when he could after the war.

I know of two great uncles from Chelsea who were killed in WWI. My grandmother met and married my grandfather after the war and returned to New Zealand with him.

My father served in Italy during WW2 and then in Japan with J Force. While in Japan his father died while serving in the Army in Christchurch.

Two uncles served in WW2. Ken was killed in Italy and is buried at Faenza.

– previously posted:  Lloyd George ANZAC tribute

 

Poppy Day

ANZAC Day on 25 April is ten days away but today is Poppy Day, when RSA fundraising takes to the streets and to the Internet.

poppyappeal

The annual Poppy Appeal is the primary source of funds for the RSA’s extensive provision of support services to war veterans and the ex-service community.

You don’t have to be a member of an RSA to benefit from the Poppy Appeal assistance. Donations are used to support veterans as well as ex-servicemen and women, and their dependents, living in the community where the funds are raised.

The poppy reminds us of sacrifices made – both past and present. Poppies were the first flowers that grew in the battlefields of Flanders in Belgium during World War One and are a symbol of remembrance and hope.

The Poppy Day street collection is held each year on the Friday before Anzac Day. RSA volunteers exchange distinctive red poppies for a donation to the Poppy Appeal.

So please make whatever donation you can afford on Poppy Day. Your generosity enables us to continue our vital support work.

Thanks Petals!

How should one mark ANZAC Day?

‘Akaroa’ at Kiwiblog:

How should one mark ANZAC Day?

Get up in the pre-dawn hours and stand with others at dawn to ‘Remember Them”?

Or, at home, silently and quietly reflect on the sacrifices made, the pointlessness of it all and how it all seems to go on and on.?

I don’t know. I’ll probably get blitzed for saying this, but I sometimes feel a bit put off by public gatherings and dawn services. To me, they always seem a bit contrived and orchestrated instead of being personal, private memorials.

And I’ve been to a few dawn ceremonies here and there – and adjourned to the RSA afterwards to have a glass of ‘gunfire’ followed by a few jars.

In Singapore we stood in Kranji Cemetery amongst the graves of the fallen POWs.

In Bangkok we stood at the cemetery embracing those who died on the Railway of Death.

But I guess the best way to honour those who fell would be to make sure nothing like it ever happens again.

But that’s a vain hope, IMHO.

(Pretty reflective time, ANZAC Day, eh?)

Yep, each to their own.

It shouldn’t be a vain hope – we should be bloody determined to avoid wide scale man-made disasters, and that includes getting sucked into them by other countries in other parts of the world.

Unfortunately sometimes not fighting at all is an extremely risky option, as the ISIS threat demonstrates.

On ANZAC Day

An excellent comment from Alan Wilkinson:

If ANZAC day is to be politicised it should be to identify, remember and never repeat the human beliefs, misconceptions and mistakes that made WW1 an utter and awful disaster for humanity before, during and after.

To remember bravery, courage, loyalty and terrible loss is fine, but that should go along with recognising gross destructive stupidity from top leadership down to the ordinary women who sent white feathers to those who objected to joining the insanity it was.

Sums things up well.

We remember them

We will remember in our own ways.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

– For The Fallen, Laurence Binyon

– “The Last Post” ANZAC anthem by Band of the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery.

The war memorial I attended every year as a child.

I haven’t been to an ANZAC service since my childhood. I remember in my own way.

Both my grandfathers served in France in the First World War. One was shot in the chest, the other got a medal on his chest. So many could have got either. Or both.

I sometimes think I was lucky my grandfathers survived the war, and then I realise that many of those who died never had the chance to have children or grandchildren. Both my parents were born after the war so if either of my grandfathers hadn’t survived I would never have been.

I can remember.