Today is ANZAC Day, when the down under countries remember the sacrifices made in war. The day’s slogan is Lest We Forget, and it’s timely… we should not forget that our 21st-century rich-country ease is a fragile thing, balanced atop a military, technological, economic, climatic and social house of cards constructed mostly by a very mixed bag of powerful people.
Normally we would all gather in the pre-dawn chill for services at the nearest war memorial, which in our case just happens to be the big War Memorial Museum in the Auckland Domain. There are normally speeches, honour guards, bugles and bagpipes. And then there’s breakfast out. Normally the veterans and the widows get together to raise a glass and listen to the old songs.
But this year things are not normal, and so we were asked to stand together apart: at the letterbox, on the balcony, in the living room. We played the service on the radio and cried anyway. And while we remembered past wars and past sacrifice, today seems more focused on remembering the futures – especially the futures we don’t want and must work hard to avoid.