Yesterday I sat between dusty library stacks fighting back tears, reading an indigenous account of the Coniston massacre of 1928. A dark time in Australian history which saw the slaughter of many indigenous men and women.
Today as a nation we remember the values of bravery, sacrifice, and mateship. We remember those willing to take a risk, to fight for their country, to endure despite suffering.
Yesterday it dawned on me. Our indigenous brothers and sisters demonstrated these values. Despite being driven out of their land, forced to adopt western culture, they still stand. They still fight. For justice. For reconciliation. For their mates. Research now suggests that 800 indigenous soldiers were ANZACs, despite laws preventing them enlisting.
Today as we celebrate the ANZAC Spirit, I can’t help but question... is it merely aspirational? I look at our treatment of refugees and asylum seekers and attempt to align that with the ANZAC spirit. As a country, do we show courage, sacrifice or mateship? Are we protecting our country or our middle class consumeristic values of comfort, security and convenience?
Tomorrow. The ANZAC spirit is a choice. A choice to live by a specific set of principles. A choice to be brave and take risks, for the sake of our society. A choice to sacrifice, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends" (John 15:13).
Today, as you share a beer with a mate, as you reflect on those who lived out these values on the battlefield and sacrificed for our country, consider this… Will we live the ANZAC Spirit tomorrow?
Lest we forget.