ANZAC DAY is a day for remembering those who have given their lives, their youth and their future for our country. ANZAC DAY is a day for remembering those who went away to foreign lands and returned different, changed, not the same, to live with rememberings they would rather forget. ANZAC DAY is a day to remember the families of those who never came back and those who did.
Remembering is an important part of personal, family and society’s story. We build our story about who we are, what we believe, what we value on remembering and when we remember we do it in three ways. Or perhaps I could say remembering has three different views.
The view back, into the past. We remember back to put a story around what happened before now. Remembering back helps to make sense of situations which often are difficult to make sense of. War is one of those things and today helps us to remember the individuals, on both sides, who endure the horror unimaginable by us this far away. ANZAC DAY helps us to remember back and to bring those stories, those faces, those names forward into our memory today. Without the remembering back we can make no sense of it at all.
The second view is the present view. We remember now. We can not change the past. We can not bring them back. We can not stop the wars which already have been fought.We can say thanks to them for the possibility of now, of what we have, freedom, hope, love, possibilities and remember. We look around us and see others just like us, perhaps ethnically and religiously different, but with the same aspirations and hopes, families and friends, wishes and dreams as us and we take note. If we remember the now we all not revisit the past.
The third view, is remembering the future. It is not all about the past and the present, but about what we build for the future. We cannot build a future if we fail to remember the past and the present. All we will do is repeat our history of violence and war over and over and over again. Remembering the future reminds us that what we do now, what we value now, what we aspire to know, we will live with now and in the future. The future is no accident, it is given birth by the past and the present.
My father-in-law came back from New Guinea and spoke very little about the war or the Japanese whom he fought. He Never never missed an ANZAC DAY march and always wore his medals. He resumed his business life and joined Rotary. Through his work he develop a friendship with a Japanese man who had fought in the same place as he did, but on opposite sides, and was also a Rotarian. They wrote to each other, he hosted the business man and his wife when they visited Australia, and he maintained that relationship until he died. While they spoke little of the war to others, they shared openly and deeply with each other the horrors they endured on the battlefield. After he died, the letters and Christmas cards continued to my mother-in-law until they all passed away. That is three way remembering in action. They remembered the past, they shared the present and they paved away for a future where this wouldn’t happen again, at least not between their nations.
The key foundation for Christians is this three-way remembering. The mystery of the Christian faith is – ‘Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again’. Something has happened, something is happening and something will happen.
Today, ANZAC DAY, is a day of remembering what has happened, let us use it to reinvigorate our present and empower our future. We owe at least that to the brave men and women who gave their lives to make it possible. It’s up to you.