I don't think the dead wish to be sung.
In fact, the dead don't wish for anything. When they were alive, they would have wished for things. Now, they are memories. Soon, they will be history. Later, maybe archeology.
If they were anything like us, I know that there's one thing they wouldn't have wished for. They wouldn't have wanted to die for their country. Nobody is born wanting to die for their country. Were you?
No, what happens is that we convince them that it's a good idea. That if they don't, something worse might happen. Of course, that wasn't a lie, but it was a shame. A damn, damn shame.
Funerals are not for the dead. They don't watch us. They can't hear us. They're about them. They are for the living. We grieve, we remember.
Time moves on, and our grief passes. ANZAC day is a funeral without grief. We just remember. But what do we remember? We remember that they died for us. Do we remember that we sent them?
It sounds harsh, doesn't it. It wasn't our fault! We wouldn't have sent them, if there wasn't another way. And it was our ancestors who sent them, not us! How can we be responsible for something we didn't do?
I fully agree. Our ancestors did the best they could with what they knew. If we knew what they did, and were in their situation, we would have done the same thing.
We're also not responsible for their actions. The line of reasoning that concludes this is sheer madness. It's playing the victimisation card. "They did it, we're responsible" adds nothing to the conversation. It just clouds our judgement.
However, we are responsible for our actions. And I think you would agree with me that you wouldn't want "sent others to die" against your name without something as powerful as "saved many more lives from death and despair" alongside it.
In fact, you weren't born wanting those charges to your name at all, were you? They didn't want to die for their country. You don't want to have to send them. Or be them.
That might sound obvious, but I wonder how many people have truly reflected on what it means. When we remember them, we do think "gosh, it would be awful to have been one of them". Some of us even ponder the bad luck of the ones who had to send them. But spare a thought for yourself, too. It's blind luck that you weren't one of them. You should do your best to make sure it never happens again.
We can only control ourselves. So this is what I'm going to do. I am never going to become that man, the one who attempts genocide based on a lie, who wants to take the freedom of others. If I see someone heading in that direction, and I have the ability to influence or control them, I will do whatever I can to stop them. And I will attempt to influence those around me to do these things too.
That's what ANZAC day means for me. It's awful that they died. It's terrible that we sent them. It will never happen because of me.
How about you?
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