Amplify Blog - ANZAC Day
by QFCC Youth Advocate Laura
When we were little kids, ANZAC Day meant putting on our school uniform on a weekend and sitting in the sun at the afternoon service waiting for a chance to pat the Light Brigade horse when the teacher wasn't looking.
We got a bit older, in a high school uniform now, and ANZAC Day is waking up at 3am because School Prefects have to attend the Dawn Service in town, an hours drive away.
When we leave home, ANZAC Day is one of the first events on the calendar where you start to define yourself; not attending because of your parents, or school, but because you've decided it's a value you also stand for.
ANZAC Day now is being asked to write a speech for your hometown, and reflecting on your childhood games of soldiers, or your unrecognisably burnt batch of bickies, and realise that maybe you weren't fully aware of the gravity of the day - but I think that shows the ANZAC spirit in its purist form.
It is not a day to glorify war, or pay homage to great leaders and greater weapons. It's a day to remember that these soldiers were children. It's the story of a generation who lied about their age to go on a 'grand adventure' at 16 and 17. It's men and women in their early 20s, who haven't yet fallen in love, or had a chance to truly live, who are asked to take life, or give their lives for their country. It's 22 year olds suddenly being ranked officer and being responsible for the well-being of every soldier, and civilian around them. And it's the young children at home, who's fathers are gone.
Those war babies didn't yet know that it would be their job to rebuild the world. They sat in the sun, played with their toys and probably listened to speeches that they didn't really understand, and is that really any different to the kids at ANZAC services today? The ones who are starting to understand what it means, and are integrating the sense of loyalty, of honour and duty into their own mind.
The ANZAC story is one of sacrifice, of being pinned down and still fighting to get home, but to me, it's the story of young people. We always pay respect to the ones that gave all of their tomorrow's for our today, but I'll go a step further.
I pay respect to every child of that age, because after the years, the tears, the fear and the loss of their peers, no child was a child at the end.
They gave not their life, but their youth, so that the generation after them had a chance to enjoy theirs.