Monday, April 26, 2010

Reflections on Anzac Day 2010

Yesterday was Anzac Day. Last year I wrote of it in point form [1]. Today I’m doing it again:

I didn’t keep my resolution to read Les Carlyon’s 2001 book Gallipoli [2] and 2006 book The Great War [3] before Anzac Day 2010.

But I’ve changed my mind about the 1985 film ANZACS [4]. I now plan to see it before Anzac Day 2011.

Yesterday I marched in Deloraine’s Anzac Day march, as part of the 24-person contingent from the five volunteer fire brigades in the Deloraine area.

It’s the first time I’ve done so. I don’t know what made me do it this year.

In bright sunshine the march down the main street ended at the newly restored cenotaph near the Meander River where there was a ceremony and service watched by the public outside the cenotaph precinct.

At each corner of the cenotaph, an army cadet stood stock still with head bowed for the entire time.

The several speakers were mostly boring. Some content of the speeches overlapped (why weren’t the speeches pre-coordinated?), and an elderly female clergywoman said some prayers.

As a secular Jew, it offended me that all the prayers mentioned Jesus, there was a reading from John’s gospel, and two Christian hymns were sung. To my knowledge Australia has no official religion. And if Christians are in the majority, that doesn’t justify them ramming their beliefs down the minority’s throats.

The best speaker was the Captain of HMAS Collins [5] – the lead submarine in our fleet of Collins Class submarines [6]. He spoke about a Deloraine boy John Collins (1899-1989) who became Vice Admiral Sir John Collins KBE, CB (pictured). He was Chief of Naval Staff 1948-55, and of course the Collins Class submarines were named after him.

I don’t know the words of Advance Australia Fair. I don’t intend to learn them.

I was most moved when the Last Post [7] was followed by a minute’s silence after which the Australian flag was slowly raised to full mast. The laying of several wreaths came second.

I was appalled that God Save the Queen was sung.

Overall I’m pleased I attended. I don’t know if I’ll go in 2011. I’ll decide after I’ve read the books and watched the movie.


Chrows25 aka Leather Woman said...

Iam constantly offended by the Queen of England being foisted on us here in Canada too. I went to a fund raising supper yesterday and had to stand thru prayers, yes always Christian,without regard for the various ethnicities in the room, if we must do this, how about a suitable minute of silence to commune with whatever deity you prefer or just contemplate ones plate.
Hey, cool button. I got mine up too, ended up I turned it into a jpg, can't remember how and uploaded.
Thanks for help!

farmdoc said...

You're very welcome, Chrows25, but I don't think I was much help.

Kate said...

I was just speaking to Bren about how disappointed I am not to have gone to the Daylesford parade, but after reading about your experience I'm not sure I would have liked the Jesus and queen references or the boring, repeditive speeches either.