ANZAC Gravely Speak­ing – Of War and Re­mem­brance

Galston, Glenorie and Hills Rural News - - Philosophy - By Ker­ron May

ANZAC Day our na­tional day of re­mem­brance causes us to pause and re­flect on those who made the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice for God, King and coun­try in the Great War but there is an­other side to the day to con­sider: other vic­tims of war – those left be­hind to mourn both vic­tor and van­quished. Each sol­dier was a lov­ing son, a beloved hus­band, a de­voted fa­ther, fond brother, a lover and good friend, some­one who cared and in re­turn was cared about.

Deus vult or God’s will is of­ten quoted on mil­i­tary head­stones as an ac­cep­tance of the fate of war and as an ac­knowl­edge­ment of the hu­mil­ity and pain of a suf­fer­ing fam­ily hav­ing lost a loved one in the cause of the greater good. At its most aus­tere, a sol­dier lived sim­ply, died bravely in to­tal ac­cep­tance of what­ever is, is best.

But re­mem­ber just as it takes two to make love, it also takes two to make war. Sol­diers on both sides had lov­ing fam­i­lies so per­haps the true com­pas­sion of the vic­tor ex­tends through the shared suf­fer­ing of the loss of a loved one, where to love one’s enemy in terms of Luke 6: 27- 28 over­comes and tran­scends a sad world through mu­tual and ex­tended kind­ness.

It is Moth­ers who have a greater un­der­stand­ing and there­fore com­pas­sion in deal­ing with the death of loved ones and one par­tic­u­lar epi­taph comes to mind which has spe­cial ten­der­ness. It reads: ‘Tread softly o’er my dar­ling son’s grave for a Mother’s love lies here’

This poignant mes­sage is in­dica­tive of re­mem­brance of not only a son who did not re­turn home from the war but is the lament of all Moth­ers whose sons who did not re­turn ei­ther.

If this is vic­tory, then let God stop all wars.

Each of these crosses is a memo­rial to a sol­dier killed in the Great War 1914-1918, some known only unto God. Al­lies and en­e­mies alike gave their lives for a cause to be­come united in death, mourned with love, al­ways re­mem­bered.

Epi­taph for the Month: Only the dead have seen the end of war.

- Plato

He Did His Duty On ANZAC Day re­call the bat­tles, hon­our the dead, salute the sol­dier but re­mem­ber the man.

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