364 Days to go until the next ANZAC Day. What have we learned?

364 Days to Go

ANZAC Day is done for another year. Wreaths are wilting and poppies are blowing in the wind and fading amongst the plants around memorials everywhere. They will be cleaned up by Council or Commonwealth War Graves staff by the end of the week. 364 days to go until the next ANZAC Day.

One hundred and three years has passed since the Gallipoli landings. Nearly 100 years since the end of the Great War. We’ve got up early and said “We Will Remember Them” and “Lest We Forget” for all that time. What have we actually learned?

Don’t blindly follow some other country’s grand strategy? Don’t send poorly trained, poorly equipped troops into battle? Appeasement is not a strategy?

Actually, we have learned little. We continue to under-fund our armed forces. Politicians are keen to talk tough and take photo opportunities with veterans and at war graves but missing in action when it comes to properly resourcing our armed forces.

In what way was New Zealand shaped as a nation? By those that died or those that survived and came home as emotionally scarred versions of their former selves? The latter doomed to pass on their trauma to future generations.

One hundred years is long enough. It’s time to let official commemorations on the Gallipoli Peninsula go and invest that money in the living veterans and their families. Lest we forget the living.