Like many others I have watched with interest as our nation celebrates ANZAC Day, and remembers those not only who gave their lives, but those who were injured either physically or psychologically, and those who still serve today.
I learnt some things I did not know about our history. I did not know that Bondi and Rose Bay were bombed by a Japanese submarine, fortunately no-one was killed. I did not know that Darwin was bombed as often as it was, nor that so many were killed on our home soil. Why were we not taught this at school?
Many years ago I worked with a former digger who served in Darwin. I am unsure about now, but in those days returned servicemen could retire at 60, something my work-mate had planned for and looked forward to, only to be told as the time approached that as he did not serve overseas he was not entitled to early retirement. Granted he did not see service overseas, but he was a Digger serving to protect Australia from a possible invasion, he was away from his family and should have had the same rights as any other retired servicemen.
As I wrote a few weeks ago this story goes on even today as medical personnel who have served in theatres of war are not entitled to the same privileges as servicemen, what an absolute disgrace. How many of them died in overseas conflicts? Does anyone remember the nurses that were forced to walk into the sea on Banka Island and were machine gunned in the back, one of our greatest heroines Vivian Bullwinkel was lucky to survive.
It has been almost 68 years since World War 2 ended, those that lived through it will never forget it, those of my generation are thankful we have not experienced such horror, and even more thankful that our children and grandchildren have been spared.
I did not attend a dawn service today, I never have, but that does not mean that I did not stop to remember just what today is all about.