Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Explaining War to Our Kids

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Explaining War to Our Kids

Article excerpt

Byline: Vani Naidoo

FOR us the weekend, as it probably was for you, was one of reflection. And gratitude of course to the thousands of Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women who have given their lives so ours can be a better one.

As we watched the sun kiss the ocean at this year's dawn service I was reminded of the Anzac Day we saw at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli much more than a decade ago now, as carefree travellers with excitement vying with rum to warm our bellies on a cold mystical warning.

I remember the calm broken only by the water lapping at the rocks, an odd sense of peacefulness mixed with disquiet and the acknowledgement of the occasion.

Those of you who have visited Gallipoli and have seen the obstacles boys as young as 14 would have had to overcome, will know the feeling of incredulity and wonder that any of them survived to tell the tale.

It was an incredibly powerful and emotional moment for me, a South African who has found a new home here. For my husband, an Australian whose grandfather fought in the Second World War, there were no words at all.

One can hardly imagine the cost of that sacrifice for the soldiers who see conflict or for their families waiting for news at home.

It is on occasions such as Anzac Day that we are reminded both of amazing patriotism and the horrible circumstances in which we see such bravery and courage.

We are reminded, too, about the futility of war. If you doubt that, take a minute to look at it through the eyes of small children.

A few days ago my husband showed our two girls a YouTube clip of Lee Kernagan's collaborative charity single, Spirit of the Anzacs. Inspired by former Prime Minister Paul Keating's eulogy at the entombment of the Unknown Australian Soldier, the song pays tribute to all men and women who have served and sacrificed on behalf of their country.

It uses actual old footage, letters and photographs of war to tell a beautiful story. …

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