Are we forgetting ANZAC Day?

ANZAC Day is one of the most important days on the New Zealand Calendar. It is a day for New Zealanders to commemorate those who fought in battle during the First World War, to mourn those who were lost, honour those who returned, and to acknowledge those who made sacrifices for our nation. It is a time to express sorrow, not to glorify war. Therefore, each year, April 25th is ANZAC Day, a public holiday for Kiwis to do exactly that.

Thousands turned out for the Dawn ANZAC Service, Pukeahu Memorial Park, Wellington, New Zealand, Saturday, April 25, 2015. Credit:SNPA / Ross Setford

So why was it, that as I stood at the Dawn Service in Dunedin at 6am last year, I was not as surrounded as I have felt in years in the past. Dunedin is a “Student-City” but for the first time since moving here, I could notice a difference. Why was it that I felt that no one really cared it was ANZAC Day, they just cared it was a day off work? I was faced with the troubling question, that as we get further and further from the memory of the Great War, are we forgetting the reason and purpose behind Anzac Day?

I had spoken with many of my friends – in their late teens and early twenties – about their plans for ANZAC Day this year and no one really knows. While it may be a bit early, even the plan to attend a Dawn Service Parade would be something. Are we forgetting that we are not meant to view this public holiday as a “day off”, but a day to commemorate those who sacrificed themselves in war.

Do we think that because the war happened years ago it doesn’t affect the world today? Is it because we do not personally remember the horror, sacrifice and death of war? Do we not have to make an effort to think about those who have given us the freedom we have today? Is it possible that in the near future ANZAC Day as we know it will become less relevant?

Schools around the country place a strong emphasis on teaching about Anzac Day. At my old school it was a big deal – we wore poppies and we were represented at ANZAC Day Memorial Park Service in Tauranga by both students and staff. I know that other schools around the country consider it to be an important date also. So how do we forget this importance so quickly after we leave? Is it the duty of the school, the memory of older staff members, or the actual choice to remember this day honourably?

It seems to me that today we are more interested in a day off work or school than the true meaning of being part of the ANZAC History, and that’s not a good change to society. I believe we need to make sure the importance of ANZAC Day and what it stands for is not lost on us as the younger generation. We should be the ones to keep the memory alive. Not only does this honour those before us, but it reminds us of the horrible things that can come from War and ensures we spend our whole lives avoiding another one beginning.

We have three weeks until ANZAC Day is here… Lest we forget, in simple terms, means we will not forget. So come on New Zealand, lest we forget.

Critical Thinking Challenges:

  1. Why is it important that youth, not just adults, attend ANZAC Day?
  2. What is the difference between remembering, commemorating and celebrating?  
  3. Do you believe it is still important ANZAC Day is celebrated when most of those who fought are not around today?

Practical Tasks:

  1. Ask a parent how much they paid their respects to those who fought in the war, this ANZAC Day and on ANZAC day when they were younger?
  2. Ask a grandparent about how their family’s life was affected by the wars? It may be more than you think.
  3. Research how ANZAC Day came to be and why it is still held today.    
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Anonymous
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Anonymous

i forgot

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I disagree. It doesn’t mean people don’t care about it just because you didn’t see anyone talk about it. in school, teachers talk about the meaning and stuff when its Anzac day and we pray we wish the best for the soldiers. Even though we care about the day off, we still care about anzac day.

Anna
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Anna

i think we should try to rember us what if we were the ones that forght in war.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

well its a good time

RUBY
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RUBY

Lets remember them

Anonymous
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Anonymous

how dear people do that

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Anzac day is important

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Anzac day is vary important

Anonymous
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Anonymous

l got

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I Agree

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I don’t think we should celebrate ANZAC day.Not to say that we don’t care,but to say that we need to move on.Yes,many people died in war,but we need to go on.I never saw the point of a day were all you do is mourn.We should have a day were we go against war.People die every day. Insted of simply remembering,we look into our future,and try to make it a better place.

DA PERSON
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DA PERSON

I don’t think that we should celebrate ANZAC day yes it is a day to remember people that have died in war, but that was 100 years ago I don’t know why we still go on about it.
this is just what I believe you can still celebrate it.

kellen
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kellen

I don’t think we should celebrate ANZAC day.Not to say that we don’t care,but to say that we need to move on.Yes,many people died in war,but we need to go on.I never saw the point of a day were all you do is mourn.We should have a day were we go against war.People die every day. Insted of simply remembering,we look into our future,and try to make it a better place.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I didn’t know

Anonymous
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Anonymous

i like anzac day

Miss Private
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Miss Private

ANZAC day is very important.
Although people forget about it, they should at least know what it means.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Yeah

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