Tomorrow marks the 97th anniversary of Australian and New Zealand army troops landing at Gallipoli in 1915. Tomorrow is a day we stop and remember all Australians who serve and have served in all wars, conflicts and peace-keeping operations. At least some of us stop and remember.
Some of us are just excited for a day off. Some of us are excited to sleep in. Some of us are excited to party and get wasted tonight. Some of us will post a token ‘Lest We Forget’ status on facebook and use tomorrow as a much needed study day. That last statement was going to be me in case you’re already judging me for being too judgemental.
As a nation, we’re somewhere down the middle when it comes to patriotism. Most of us are aware that we are lucky to live in Australia and we’re happy to don an Australian Flag tattoo on Australia Day but we are kind of embarassed when we see ourselves represented on American television. We’ll fly flags out the windows of our cars, but hardly any of us have a flagpole installed at home.
I come from a military family. My uncle is in the air force, I’ve got a cousin the army and even closer to home, my father has been serving in the Army for many years and in the last couple of years my brother followed in his footsteps. I’m extremely aware of the sacrifice Australians Service Men and Women have made for our country. I’m aware, because for me, the sacrifice is personal.
I’ve said goodbye at the airport and watched my loved ones depart for over-seas operations. I’ve received letters from war zones and delayed crackly phone calls where we sort of talk in code. I’ve grown up and spent my adult years separated at times from the two men I love the most. And trust me, I have it easy. I haven’t gotten married without loved ones present. I haven’t had to give birth to my child alone because my husband was away on deployment. I haven’t had to bury ones I love because of war. I have it easy.
I’m so aware of what tomorrow represents. I’m so aware of how painful and lonely military life can be. I’m so honoured to know people who serve our country. I’m so honoured to call those people my family. I’m so grateful for their sacrifice. I’m so grateful for this country and the people who have died and will die to protect the freedom we take for granted.
I won’t forget.