It was Date Night last night. It’s been about 2 months since we got ourselves organised for such an event, so it was long overdue, and much appreciated.
It’s almost ANZAC Day here, celebrating and remembering all those Kiwis and Aussies who’ve died in wars, conflict and peace-keeping services through the years. It’s a pretty big deal (and not just for the day off!).
We went up to the Museum, where a special film is showing for the days leading up to ANZAC Day. Illuminate 2014 brings to life previously unseen footage from WW1. It’s running on a loop with a great score, and is projected on to the side of the Museum.
As the Southern Man is a bit of a military and history buff, he’s my walking encyclopaedia of All Things War Related. He was able to pinpoint where they were when they landed, and even who some of the senior-looking dudes in coats were. He was watching with interested eyes. I was watching more with a sad heart.
The thought of war and conflict on any scale really upsets me, as I’m sure it does most people, and while I realise there are reasons (excuses) for any conflict, I tend to avoid facing the harsh realities. Not a brave attitude, I know.
That being said, I feel strongly that ANZAC Day is a chance to remember all those who have died in conflict, as well as all those left behind. I can’t help thinking of the mothers, the fathers, the wives, the younger brothers and sisters, who had to watch their loved ones head off to an uncertain future.
I loved the film clip. It was thought-provoking and sobering – these young young men heading off on ‘adventure’, with their packs, all smiles and jokes. Then suddenly you’re with them in the trenches. The blasts. The smoke. The mud and the snow. The urgency and the chaos.
It made me hang on to The Southern Man that much tighter. And feel very grateful that the times we’re in are different as I know that had we lived during those wars, he’d have been first in the sign-up line. His sense of responsibility and duty would’ve ensured that. So instead we sat on the steps of the Museum and watched footage of thousands and thousands of young Kiwis heading off on the boats, waving out the tiny windows as though they were off on a fine adventure. Perhaps, for many of them, they felt that they were.
I know we live in a time of great conflict. There are so many awful, brutal and horrendous clashes going on around the globe. Whether these wars are driven by ethnic differences, fueled by economic forces or religious divergence, the end outcomes are always the same. Pain and grief and broken hearts. Not to mention social disruption and a very long and painful process to get back on track. This is not in any way to take away from the extraordinary bravery of men and women around the world who are standing up for what they believe in, and in particular, standing up for the rights of others. The problem as I see it is that it’s hard to see an end without more conflict and loss.
When I started writing today I really had absolutely no plan as to what I wanted to say. Now I read over it and am tempted to scrap it all and start again, as there’s clearly no rhyme or reason to the above waffling. But on reflection, I think I’ll leave it. It’s just a few thoughts. It’s not academic or researched. It’s not even clearly laid out. But it’s where I’m at right now.
Feeling very grateful to the brave men and women who have created the country I am lucky to live in. Thankful for their sacrifices. And very glad that the X-Box is as close as The Southern Man is getting to real conflict these days.