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Roman Travers: A time to remember those who went to defend our freedom

Publish Date
Thu, 25 Apr 2024, 12:22pm
Photo / Getty Images

Roman Travers: A time to remember those who went to defend our freedom

Publish Date
Thu, 25 Apr 2024, 12:22pm

A few days ago, I was working here on Newstalk ZB, and we got onto discussing today, ANZAC Day and whether or not we should or shouldn’t have a full day of remembrance as there has been in the past. 

The very first ANZAC Day was in 1946. It was brought about to remember the landing at Gallipoli on that days first anniversary. Since then, we’ve had full days of remembrance and once again, we’re back to pretty much a half day. 

What’s wrong with us that we need to have the option of getting to the shops on our country’s major day of collective remembrance? 

How tough would it be to know that for just one full day in the year, you and I need to be organised enough with bread and milk and whatever else you need for one day – in order to reflect and remember those that gave their lives; so that we can be free to choose what we want in life? 

Now, I know there are those that say that there are other days of the year that prevent them from fulfilling their shopping dreams. But there are just three-and-a-half days a year which The Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 prevents most shopping - Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and the first half of Anzac Day. 

Apart from today, the other days are religious festivals - right? 

ANZAC Day is the only public holiday day in the year that doesn’t require you to believe in something that may or may not be true or that may or may not have taken place. 

ANZAC Day is the one day of an entire year that asks – not demands – that you and I take some time to reflect upon the thousands of predominantly young men, who went to one of the major theatres of war and didn’t come home. ANZAC Day asks us to remember and to honour those who also returned - having given so much. 

I believe that the solemnity of ANZAC Day would have far greater meaning and gravitas, if we were to shut everything, apart from the essential services. 

Do you think we could cope with that? Do you think that there’d be an outpouring of support for this concept – far outweighing those in support of some misguided belief that shopping on every day of the year (bar the three and a half we currently have as public holidays) - is a basic human right? 

For me and many others, this national day of remembrance, is a time to remember how we got to be this little country at the bottom of the world. 

It’s a time to remember that the only reason you and I get to complain (or to celebrate) about government policy, the state of the nation and our place in the world… is because of those who went to defend our freedom. 

Lest we forget right? 

They shall grow not old, as we that 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. 

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