Written By Steven Lam 9 BLUE Gallipoli Assessment Task – Question 3
To what extent is the Anzac spirit relevant to life in Australia today? What can it teach us about the Australia we want for the future?
Annually, the 25th of April marks the day when Australians commemorate the spirit of the Anzacs. Anzac Day allows Australians to acknowledge the occasion when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915, determined to protect their country. They fought demonstrating a standard of courage, pride, comradeship, and hope. The Gallipoli campaign was a major warfare between Turkey, Australia and New Zealand. Not only had Australia and New Zealand recently become independent from the British Empire, Turkey has also emerged from the Ottoman Empire. As a result, this was a fight to the death to defend their countries. However, the hope of the undying Anzac spirit thrived with persistence despite being against the odds. “It flared with a previously unknown, almost superhuman strength. There was a determination, a drive which swept up from the beaches on Gallipoli Peninsula as the ANZACs thrust forward.” (Burke, 1854) expresses the strength and determination of the Anzacs. However, regardless of the Anzacs’ loss, their spirit remains relevant today. The soldiers who have fought for their countries have forged the Anzac Spirit. Nowadays, the Anzac Spirit is still relevant and is represented by many Australians in everyday natural disasters, annual dawn services and in Operation Slipper at Afghanistan.
First of all, volunteers who have enlisted in the Gallipoli Campaign have undoubtedly demonstrated loyalty and bravery towards the British Empire which relates with the spirit we maintain today. It is of human nature to conjure the Anzac spirit when others need assistance and has been a quality which was presented by the original Anzacs at Gallipoli. However, despite the years which have passed, the Anzac spirit still survives. Throughout Australian communities, it is evident that the Anzac spirit is present during natural disasters. For example, the Queensland floods in 2010 have evoked a strong response from the nation after thousands of residents were evacuated. Over 55,000 residents volunteered to clean the flood-affected streets. Through this determination, it is obvious that the Anzac Spirit is something that all Australians demonstrate. Even (Gillard, 2011) acknowledges that "... right across Queensland today people have got up, they’ve marched out of their homes and they’ve gone to find people to help. It’s a tremendous spirit of volunteering right across Queensland.” Just like the thousand of volunteers in the Gallipoli Campaign, the volunteers during modern natural disasters are a clear representation of the Anzac spirit. Similarly, (Bligh, 2011) addressed that “As we weep for what we have lost, I want us to remember who we are. We are Queenslanders…Together we can pull through this and, with your help, we can achieve it.” When Australians hear the combination of Anna Bligh’s and Julia Gillard’s speeches, they realise that the Anzac spirit is relevant in today’s society. By assisting others and sharing mutual goals, the nation is able to ‘move forward’ towards a brighter future knowing they are supported. The courage Australians maintained evidently illustrates that the Anzac spirit is relevant in Australian life today. The Anzac spirit during the Queensland floods has taught Australians that we are still Australians despite our losses. The Anzac spirit taught us that if we help each other through camaraderie, we as a country can achieve what we want. As a result, the Anzac spirit is unmistakably relevant to life in modern Australia and is capable of teaching us what we want for Australia’s future.
Secondly, it is noticeable that the Anzac spirit is relevant to modern Australian life due to Australians’ attendance to Dawn Services and Remembrance Day. On these occasions, Australians pay tribute to the soldiers who have fought and sacrificed their lives in the war. Due to this annual remembrance, it is obvious that the Anzac spirit demonstrated within these wars is still relevant to Australian life today. As this is a public ceremony, they are held in towns and cities across the nation to be recognised. “That legacy was well and truly alive at dawn services big and small in cities and towns across the country.” (Jones, 2007) clearly shows that the Anzacs who fought during the war will be remembered by all Australians. The statement illustrates to us how the Anzac spirit will constantly be accredited by the modern Australian community and that the Anzac spirit plays a part in Australian life. Also, through attending these services, they are able to teach us the morals evoked from the Anzacs. We are able to learn what was gained from the Gallipoli Campaign regardless of the Anzacs’ loss. During these services, the Anzac spirit teaches us that anyone has the ability to show the Anzac Spirit. It is through these services that the actions of the Anzacs are recognized by Australians and we learn that the Anzac spirit is about mate-ship, courage, innovation, and endurance. We learn that these are the qualities which define Australians. As a result, the Anzac spirit teaches us that we want Australia to remain Australian. Our past soldiers have sacrificed their lives to keep Australia Australian which is why the Anzac spirit clearly teaches us what we want Australia to be in the future. Due to Australians’ attendance to these services which commemorate the Anzac spirit, it is understandable that the Anzac spirit is still acknowledged and is as a result relevant to modern Australian life.
Furthermore, Australia’s military contribution in other countries demonstrates their Anzac spirit by helping others. The courage of the soldiers who were sent overseas in order to fight is a clear reflection of the Anzac spirit in today’s Australia. At least 3,300 soldiers have been directed to operations overseas on behalf of the Australian Defence Force. Operation Slipper is amongst the many peacekeeping procedures which fight for human rights, fight against terrorism, end oppression, and introduce maritime security. Other countries which Australian soldiers have been sent to include Timor-Leste, Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, and the Middle East. During these operations, the Anzac spirit has been shown when Australians help others by placing their lives at risk. Just like the comradeship demonstrated as the Anzac spirit, this is now relevant to Australia in which we as a country are assisting Afghanistan. From these operations, Australians have learned a lot about the Anzac spirit. “The way the ANZAC spirit really needs to be reflected in today’s Australia is as a spirit of peace. An understanding that war is hell. A prayer that young people of our country will never go to war again.” (Rich, 1999) clearly shows that the Anzac spirit has the potential to teach Australians what we want for Australia in the future. The Anzac spirit teaches us on a larger scale that war is a negative aspect of the world and that Australia is determined for peace. Therefore, Australia’s contribution to war for other countries evidently displays the Anzac spirit’s relevance in modern Australian life, as well as its potential to teach us what we want for Australia in the future.
In conclusion, Australia learned a lot from the Anzac spirit, thus, it is unmistakably present in Australian life today. Its sacrificial and courageous qualities seem to arise when Australians require it the most for example, during natural disasters, as well as military operations in other countries. Its relevance to Australian life is also prolonged as a result of annual dawn services and Remembrance Day. Its qualities of courage, camaraderie, bravery, mateship and persistency have shaped the identity of Australia today and for the future. Therefore, despite the century which has passed, the Anzac spirit has left a scar in modern Australia as well as its future.
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Overnewton Anglican Community College: Humanities