ANZAC Day – We are not afraid of the (Terrorist) bastards)

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SPIRIT OF ANZAC

Abalinx – Peter Adamis – 25 April 2015

Today, Saturday 25 April 2015 and exactly 100 years after the landing at Gallipoli, Australians as whole can be justifiable be proud of themselves.  In Melbourne, thousands braved the almost wintry morning to pay tribute to a youth of a bygone era.  Standing shoulder to shoulder, children on their shoulders, hovering beneath umbrellas, others in cloaks, raincoats and all sorts of head gear, stood silently during the ANZAC service. A copy of the complete article may be downloaded by clicking on: ANZAC DAY – WE ARE NOT AFRAID OF THE (TERRORIST) BASTARDS

Unafraid of the alleged threat of terrorist attacks from external influences and isolates cases of a few radicals, the Australians of Melbourne from all walks of life proved once again their resilience and courage in the face of these perceived threats of terrorism. I have written this article to capture the moment for history.

Likewise these scenes were enacted throughout Australia in the RSLs and other ANZAC commemorative designated locations. If the lads of yesterday could but have the power to see and speak, they too would be moved by the thousands that heed the call of the Prime Ministers call who encouraged all Australians to attend the ANZAC services and not to allow the threats of terrorism and radicals to change our way of life. Without politicising ANZAC Day, you have to give it to Tony Abbott for leading the country forward at a time of crisis and demonstrating to the whole world that we as Australians are not afraid to stand up to the bastards who threaten our way of life.

When I woke up this morning and looked out the window from the top floor, I could see that the bleak Melbourne grey dawn struggling to push the dark night out and replace it with rays of sunshine. Alas I was to be disappointed, for the sun was still asleep and it darkness had still enveloped our patch of the woods.  Getting dressed wasn’t so bad; it was going down stairs with stiff back after not sleeping well as my thoughts were on my mates who had gone before me. Many had succumbed to ill health, mental illnesses, isolation, suicide, marriage breakups, alcoholism, lack of care, and others had just given up the ghost. I thought about them and knew that it was my mission to write and remember them. After all who would remember our generation?

Medication for the heart, blood pressure tablets, cholesterol, and blood thinners all washed down by a quick cup o tea did the trick and I opened the gate leading out to the driveway to attend the Dawn service and Gun Fire Breakfast at the RSL.  75 paces directly across the road!  Back still hurting, but what the heck I said to myself, it must be old age creeping up on me. At the age of 65 I guess I can afford to be kind to myself and make such excuses. As I approached the entrance, I found that there were a few people at first as many I would find out later had attended the Dawn Service at the Shrine in beautiful downtown Melbourne some 25 kilometres away.

I sauntered in and made my way into the restaurant where the gunfire breakfast was to be served. Call it luck of the draw, but I was their first customer. I paid my nominal six dollars to young Erin behind the cash register and then picked up my meal of bacon, eggs, and hash brown from young Debbie further down the line. I sat down at table number 19 which was my normal table and began to eat with my thoughts far away.

I wondered what my four sons are doing at this very moment, how my parents who are still with us (bless their hearts) are coping,  what my mates throughout the world are doing and how the men and women who are serving overseas are spending their time on this day. As the minutes ticked by, I noticed the streaks of daylight creeping through the clouds attempting to bring light to the wilderness of darkness through the windows that led out to the courtyard for the smokers. Mind you there were no takers this morning I noticed for smokers as most if not all were trudging in to purchase their gunfire breakfast and to catch up with old mates.  

It then struck me as I was put a chewed on the bacon that not one of my mates would be here this morning. If they had not already died then they lived elsewhere doing the same thing as me. Some would be attending the Dawn Service in Perth, Geraldton, Collie, Bunbury, Albany in West Australia, or Adelaide in South Australia, Sydney and the country towns of New South Wales, Brisbane, Beaudesert, Canungra, Townsville, Rockhampton, Maryborough, Cairns, in Queensland, Darwin in the Northern Territory, Launceston an Hobart in Tasmania, Warrnambool, Ballarat, Beaufort, Mildura, Portland, Albury, Gippsland, Melbourne, our indigenous brothers, Thursday Island and Torres Strait Islanders, Kiwi brothers and those who decided to reside overseas.

No matter our heritage, origins, skin colour, religious leanings and upbringing, we all had something in common. We once wore the uniform of Australia were and comrades in arms. Therefore whether we like it or not, it is our duty and responsibility to remember them.  

We have “a particular responsibility towards those who have worn the nation’s uniform. Because there is in my view, no higher calling than to wear the uniform of Australia”. Kevin Rudd – Prime Minister – 8 September 2008.

As I was about to eat my last morsel, I wanted to lick the juices that remained on my plate, but alas I was not in the privacy of home where I would at times lick the plate after a heavy meal cooked by my lovely wife and I did not have any bread to do so.  I noticed a group of people heading towards my location and beckoned to them to sit down as I was about to leave. The chap sat down and his female companions sat at another table. As we introduced ourselves a discussion naturally took place.   It turned out that he worked with Australian customs in the investigative department that he had come along this day to support his wife who was the local scout’s leader and mentor. We spoke about Australians losing their larrikin image, life in general and of our life experiences, amongst other matters. Soon it was time for me to go and I grabbed a free cup of coffee for my 75 paces back home.

As I began to walk out, I passed the long line of patrons who had returned from the dawn service in Melbourne, waiting patiently to be served. It was great to see so many people attend the RSL and said to myself that we are not afraid of the bastards that threaten our way of life. I passed my mate Jim who is my next door neighbour. Jim had been a past Treasurer of the RSL and a very good neighbour. As I was going through the glass doors leading to the outside, other patrons began to enter and as such I took the opportunity to be that larrikin once again. I “innocently” asked if they thought it was going to rain.

The bloke looked at me as if I was some time of goose and yes I think it will rain. Mind you it was raining buckets at the time. I had a chuckle to myself and said that the bloke probably didn’t understand my wry sense of humour. Still it is good to laugh especially in this day and age of technology where we are faced with potential threats of terrorism, loss privacy, but small in comparison to what the alternative are.

On my return back home I acquainted myself with the local news via Google News, Social media outlets and emails sent to me. It was great to see that Australians had thronged to all the Dawn services, putting the threats made by those who are determined to disrupt our way of life to one side and got on with what was important. Living a normal life as we are not afraid of the (Terrorists) bastards. I had found out that another ANZAC service was not due to start until 10.00 am and that it would be preceded by the annual ANZAC march.

Beauty I said to myself, I now have time to rush down to the local newsagent and purchase today’s papers and see what I was missing from internet sources. As I made way down to the shops it was still raining and as I had no wet weather gear I hurried to get under cover as the black suit that I was wearing was getting well and truly drenched. Harold our local newsagent who is of Chinese ancestry and a good bloke served me along with his wife and he also gave me the Greek Neos Kosmos in which I at times write articles to. 

Back in the comforts of home I read the newspapers with some degree of interest and found that most of the news was very positive about the ANZAC Dawn services and those they went without a hitch. Mind you in Melbourne security had been beefed up but no apparent incidents had occurred. I began to read the English section of the Greek Neos Kosmos as my knowledge of the Greek language is poor and scanty indeed.

An article written by a bloke who writes regularly for the news paper had written an interesting piece on ANZAC Day, Kemal Ataturk, monuments and indigenous diggers. It was a thought provoking and in my opinion provocative article that bordered denial and in my opinion was not based on fact. However to the writer’s credit I must admit that it was well written implying that his research on his subject was thorough.   I will in time submit a reply for according to historians, history can be manipulated if not challenged by new evidence.

The clock in the living room chimed ten o’clock and it was time for me to attend the Watsonia RSL ANZAC March. It was still raining but a small crowd of about 500 had gathered under a sea of umbrellas to watch the parade that was making its way through the streets of Watsonia like a snake trying to find the least resistance during its journey. Lead by the Victoria mounted Police; the procession came around the roundabout and into the avenue to stop just past the Watsonia RSL.

The mounted Police were followed by veterans from the many wars that Australia had be involved in, Scout groups, schoolchildren, grand parents and parents with their children and various organisations at the tail end.  There were young men and women from the Watsonia Army Barracks mingling with their mates who had since left the service and it was very apparent that the camaradie and mateship was still strong. Under one umbrella, I observed a man and a woman proudly displaying a photograph of their great grandfather who had served at Gallipoli and as the procession went by they all turned to look at it with equal pride.

As I stepped back from the procession and into the crowd I took photographs of the crowd for historical reasons. I do this every ANZAC Day as I feel that it’s important we keep a record of the generational changes that occur within our midst and to record the moment for generations to come.

Recently ANZAC Day has become overshadowed by a dark past of humanity.  A past that is not of the ANZACS fighting at Gallipoli, but who later became involved in trying to save thousands of Armenians from being exterminated whilst they were part of a secret force sent to the Russian Caucuses as part of Dunster Force.

A horrific atrocity that was occurring at the same time as the Gallipoli landings and unbeknownst to the men and women who were fighting for their lives on the shores at ANZAC cove. A genocide and ethnic cleansing of a people, slowly gathering recognition around the world, but which Australia has failed to acknowledge that it ever occurred.

This genocide after being relegated to the past and almost forgotten has come back to haunt the Turkish government and embarrass its people who were largely unaware that a genocide was being undertaken within their midst. The systematic removal and destruction of three races, the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks from what is now Turkey of which Australia needs to recognise.

As I stepped back I came across an old bloke. Well he was older than me put it that way. He was 80 and I am a boy at 65. We got to talking like blokes always do and he said that he had always been a local and could remember many years ago when the RSL was only a tin shed and paddocks around it. During our chat, the service began and Margaret another friend who also happens to be a neighbour from up the road gave the Lord’s Prayer.

I stayed with the old fella for a bit and moved back to take more photographs, listening to the service. People began to stream into the RSL as the service was to be completed within the building due the rain and the inclement weather. This was a great sign as it enabled people to bet in from the cold. I returned home and went to bed exhausted and waking up some few hours later still with a crook back.  The day is not yet over and at the time of writing being 3.15. pm, the rain is still coming down which in my view did not dampen the ANZAC spirit.

In closing I spare a thought for all those who lie buried within our borders and of the thousands who never made it back home.  I think of the Australians of generations before us, of the men and women who left these shores at Albany West Australia some 100 years ago. Those same men and women who become involved in battles that were not of our own making and yet seeking to contribute to a world peace. A peace that has eluded mankind ever since he found means to bring destruction upon one another, but is forever hopeful that it can be achieved.

At this juncture, my lovely wife brings me back to reality by reminding me that we are going shopping. To do so I have taken a panadol to kill the pain in my shoulder as this body of mine can no longer keep up with an energetic, larrikin and enquiring mind. Therefore I can conclude with all honesty that although it is ANZAC day, life will go on as normal as we Australians are not afraid of the (TERRORIST) bastards.

Peter Adamis iconPeter Adamis is a Journalist/Commentator and writer. He is a retired Australian military serviceman and an Industry organisational & Occupational (OHS) & Training Consultant whose interests are within the parameters of domestic and international political spectrum.  He is an avid blogger and contributes to domestic and international community news media outlets as well as to local and Ethnic News. 

He holds a Bachelor   of Adult Learning & Development (Monash), Grad Dip Occupational Health  & Safety, (Monash),  Dip. Training & Assessment, Dip Public Administration, and Dip Frontline Management. Contact via Email: abalinx@netspace.net.au or via Mobile: 0409965538

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