The Courier-Mail

KET­TLE, BLACK

- TWIT­TER @ROWANDEAN

Aussie leg­end; it’s the “spirit” of the An­zacs that we now hold to be as es­sen­tial to who we are as the Amer­i­cans do their War of In­de­pen­dence and the French do Bastille.

More young Aus­tralians travel to Gal­lipoli ev­ery year than ever be­fore, and the gov­ern­ments spend hun­dreds of mil­lions on war me­mo­ri­als and com­mem­o­ra­tions.

Yet the sin­gle most en­dur­ing me­mo­rial to the An­zacs is to re­mem­ber why, and for whom, they went to war in the first place: for King and coun­try. Like it or not, the “spirit” of the An­zacs is, was, and al­ways will be their un­flinch­ing loy­alty to the Crown.

It was belief in the idea and val­ues of the Bri­tish Em­pire that led young kids to run away from their farms and young men to aban­don their wives and head off to fight and die in bloody bat­tle.

Ob­vi­ously, many re­turned from the hor­rors of both world wars dis­il­lu­sioned with those same val­ues – many came home as com­mu­nists, so­cial­ists, paci­fists, repub­li­cans and so on – but by far the ma­jor­ity who sur­vived re­tained their loy­alty to their coun­try, in­clud­ing its monarch, and be­lieved the ideal had been worth the sac­ri­fice.

It is a grotesque dis­hon­esty to pre­tend that the “spirit” of the An­zacs was any­thing other than monar­chist at heart. To­day, the monarch plays a purely sym­bolic role in our mod­ern lives, yet is an im­por­tant cer­e­mo­nial link to what made us who we are.

To re­place that sys­tem with some­thing im­per­fect or illde­fined is no dif­fer­ent to paper­ing over an old oil paint­ing for the sake of it.

Or tip­ping a bucket of cold wa­ter over a smok­ing cer­e­mony.

 ??  ?? HIS­TORIC IDEAL: Young Queens­land sol­diers march along Queen St, Bris­bane, in 1914 be­fore lead­ing the An­zac as­sault.
HIS­TORIC IDEAL: Young Queens­land sol­diers march along Queen St, Bris­bane, in 1914 be­fore lead­ing the An­zac as­sault.
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