It’s so easy for us to forget what this day actually means, living in a time and country where we’re not really faced with the concept of war. Can you imagine young guys these days leaving behind their designer jeans and cold drip coffee to take up weaponry to defend their country? Can you imagine young women leaving behind their hair appointments and brunch dates with the girls to nurse the wounded? What a horrific notion…. Yet, only a few generations ago, that’s what young Australians were facing. And so each year, on April 25th, we commemorate the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and their fight for the freedom of generations to come.
On the ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee website, they write:
Every nation must, sooner or later, come for the first time to a supreme test of quality; and the result of that test will hearten or dishearten those who come afterwards. For the fledgling nation of Australia that first supreme test was at Gallipoli.
I remember watching the movie Gallipoli as a teenager, and thinking about whether I’d be able to do what those young people did back then. It’s in large part because of their sacrifices that I get to leave my house safely today, that I get to have brunch with my friends and drink matcha lattes and shop for nice clothes and travel. It’s because of those enormous sacrifices that I have such a lovely, safe life these days. They made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives for the freedom of future generations; they went to war knowing they’d probably never get the chance to enjoy the future they were helping to create. I’ve watched that movie many times since my first teenage viewing, and I cry every time, because it’s just so raw and real to me. And I’m not sure I’d have the strength and conviction to do what those men and women did.
Every year on ANZAC Day, I make ANZAC cookies (say hello to this year’s batch, and I’m finally going to share the recipe in my new cookbook 🙂 too good not to share!). It’s not just a token motion I go through, nor is it an excuse to eat delicious cookies (but they are delicious!). The time I spend making them is time I use to reflect on what the day actually means and how grateful I am for the strong people who came before me. I absolutely detest the notion of war. I don’t agree with it. But I also know it’s naive to believe there should be a better way and I can’t see that happening in my lifetime, so in the mean time, I am incredibly thankful to our war heroes for protecting us when we need it.
They shall not grow old
As we who are left grow old
Age shall not weary them
Nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them
Lest we forget