Rekindling the values that ignite our ANZAC Spirit01 April 2022
As we commemorate a day that defined our nation, and as we collectively face new and unprecedented challenges – in our own backyards and globally, this year’s ANZAC Day is a poignant moment for us all to tap into a sense of community and togetherness.
It’s a chance to connect with ourselves, our friends and families, our communities, and the characteristics – of courage, ingenuity, endurance, humour and mateship – that defined our ANZACs as they so valiantly fought after landing in Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.
As the Australian and New Zealand troops arrived on the shores of Gallipoli in the early hours of 25 April 1915, they were unaware just how courageous their actions would become.
Their sense of duty to fight for their country led them to enter a battle they did not see coming and forever connected them to a powerful legacy that we continue to commemorate today.
Through their selflessness, and for some the ultimate sacrifice, they demonstrated the ability to overcome our fears. To stand for something and to fight for the freedom we hold dear. Their demonstration of courage carried through the service men and women of battles fought since then, and remains in the operations carried out by our Australian Defence Force today.
And it isn’t only visible in the stories of those who have fought for us throughout the years. Courage is visible every day in the men, women and families who ask for the help and support they need to create a brighter future.
The legacy and traditions remembered on 25 April earned their place in history on that fateful morning, eight months into WWI, when our allied forces (now better known as ANZACs) left on a mission to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul), aiming to take Turkey out of the war.
When they arrived at Gallipoli, and the small cove that would come to be known as ANZAC Cove, they were ambushed by a large and well-armed Turkish force. Their gallant efforts and sacrifice are often reflected upon as one of the key moments that shaped our nation’s identity.
It showed the world how strong we were and our resilience in the face of a crisis. But it also showed the world our ability to embrace ingenuity – adapting and overcoming adversity, unknown challenges and increasing uncertainty.
As we prepare to commemorate ANZAC Day in 2022, we are all familiar with the uncertainty that recent events have forced us to adapt to. When the pandemic meant it was unsafe for us to gather in person to mark ANZAC Day in 2020, RSL Queensland was able to think of new and different ways to mark the occasion, ensuring the service and sacrifice of Defence personnel, past and present, was not forgotten.
This year, our third year Lighting Up the Dawn, we again draw upon the ingenuity in all of us and ask everyone to Commemorate Your Way. Whether watching services online, attending a march or service with family and friends, volunteering, or supporting in your community or at home from your driveway – the spirit of the ANZACS lives on in all of us.
From pandemics to natural disasters, Australians are used to showing up and getting through. Giving up easily is not something Australians are known for. While the ANZACs who landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 endured a situation most cannot fathom, they enacted a value that lives on in us today.
As we are increasingly tested by the ever-changing nature of a global pandemic, face unprecedented natural disasters, and the general ebbs and flows of our own personal challenges, we can call on the ANZAC characteristic of endurance to get us through. We can remain connected to friends and family, focus on what we can control, limit exposure to news or social media, and be active in the community by checking in on our neighbours. Sometimes the smallest acts make the biggest impact in enduring the challenges we must face.
As the saying goes, “If you don’t laugh, you cry…” and while the enormity and seriousness of their situation was no doubt ever present, it is believed (including by the University of Melbourne) that “relief from the relentlessness of the First World War” was found in comedy and humour creating ‘trench journals’ featuring cartoons, jokes and puns.
Indeed, Australian soldiers’ ability to have a laugh even during wartime, has become something they are well known for and the bonding ability of a good belly laugh cannot be ignored.
If humour kept spirits lifted in the trenches, then it was mateship that bound these men together as they endured the hardest challenge of their lives.
Mateship and its foundation of loyalty, equality and friendship remain a guiding principle of RSL Queensland as we, and the entire nation, stand shoulder to shoulder with veterans.
From paying it forward to people in need to partnering with The Salvation Army to help homeless veterans get back on their feet, harnessing new ways of forging stronger connections to finding meaningful employment with an employer who understands – RSL Queensland and members across the State are looking after each other, creating a bright future and enduring legacy for all veterans and their families.
THROUGH THESE VALUES WE REMEMBER THEMThe values the troops took with them to ANZAC Cove, that our Defence Forces past and present have stood for and that everyday Australians live by can be seen now in 2022, just as they were in 1915.
Our preparedness to roll up our sleeves and lend a hand, to be there for our neighbours and to give back to our communities keep the ANZAC spirit alive. As our country continues to recover from natural disasters, global challenges, and economic hardships, we feel the legacy of those who fought and made the ultimate sacrifice to give us the life we all live today.
The meaning of the day is as individual as the lines on our fingerprints. The emotions and connection to the day and its memories are complex. And just as the way we commemorate ANZAC Day is reshaped due to global events outside our control, perhaps so too will be our personal meaning of what we mark on 25 April.
COMMEMORATE YOUR WAY
The ANZAC spirit lives on in us all, and on 25 April we invite you to honour our Defence community and commemorate in a way that is meaningful to you. On ANZAC Day, you can attend your local RSL ANZAC Day service, light up the dawn at home at 6am, participate online, or hear stories of inspirational Australians who embody the characteristics of the ANZAC spirit.PLAN YOUR ANZAC DAY