Dr Peter White's Blog

Thoughts and comments from Dr Peter White -- political, philosophical, spiritual, musical and more

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Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

I am retired from the Uni. of Queensland, and have numerous interests inside and outside of the uni. I play classical, bluegrass, country and folk guitar (hows that for a mix?) I am a member of the Australian Labor Party and am currently branch secretary of the Mt Coot-tha branch. I'm also involved in developing virtual reality builds and websites. Never bored!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Here's to the ANZACS

Today, 25 April, is a solemn holiday for Australians. It is the day that we commemorate the Australian and New Zealand military who have fought in the numerous wars since the beginning of Australian Federation in 1901. Our men and women were in South Africa (Boer war), World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and now in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Solomon Islands and in Timor. Thousand upon thousands of lives were lost in these conflicts, and countless thousands more wounded, maimed, or suffered from post-tramautic stress, to say nothing of the families and mates left behind.

I am a migrant to this country, and I have found the ANZAC day ceremonies, the history and the legends quite moving and makes me pleased to have become an Australian citizen.

But I also wonder why Australia has opted to fight in all these conflicts; it seems the only one that made any sense at all was Australia's deep involvement in WWII in the Pacific theatre, for obvious reasons. And I can understand the military's involvement in the Solomons and in Timor, acting as peacekeepers there while these fragile nations build themselves up.

Eric Bogle, an Australian singer-songwriter has captured the feeling best of all I think, with his songs "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda", and "Private William McBride", both about the senseless carnage of the first World War. The songs are moving and stirring.

I suppose we could ask the question: does the building of a national identity have to be based on the foundation of the citizens' blood? One day perhaps not...

I salute all the brave men and women who have fought and suffered for this country, at the behest of governments of all persuasions. May the flame ever burn lest we forget.

PB White


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