As I reflect on this weekend and the significance of ANZAC Day for not just Australia and New Zealand, but for other nations as well, I've been reminded that there are those for whom ANZAC is not part of their national consciousness. In fact, they may never have come across the term before today.
So a brief history lesson ... ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. This Corps was created during World War 1 and first saw action at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915. Quickly the Corps was recognised for its bravery, honour, sacrifice, and sense of 'mateship'.
Perhaps surprisingly, for those who are familiar with celebrating military victories, the ANZACs were defeated at Gallipoli. But ANZAC Day is not a day of celebration but one of remembrance along with an acknowledgement that two national identities were birthed on those hostile shores. It is one day where the sibling rivalry that is often on a par with Cain and Abel, is put aside, and both nations join in remembering the fallen in war and those that have served their nations in wartime.
It's not that we don't have victories to celebrate (how many are aware that it was the ANZAC victory in 1917 in freeing Jerusalem that paved a way for the Jewish nation to have their own free state?) but rather that the choice is not to glory in war but to remember those who gave up everything for king and country.
It has been estimated that between one quarter and one third of our town's population was at the ANZAC Day Dawn Service yesterday. Certainly we were amazed at the stream of cars and people at that time of the morning. DH had said the night before that he would park at work and we'd walk from there. I had dismissed that as being too far to walk at that time of the morning and that surely we'd be able to park much closer. Let me tell you that yesterday I was glad that we were able to park as 'close' to the venue as his workplace!
While such a turnout was unprecedented and something that I'm sure warmed the hearts of many, there is another sacrifice that often goes unnoticed and unremembered.
Two thousand years ago the Son of God gave up His life as an offering for our sins and yet today many don't want to know about it. Many choose not to remember and yet the freedom He bought with His sacrifice is greater than the freedom bought by the thousands who have died on the battlefields of this world.
So as we remember our ANZACs ... let's not forget the One who died for us all. As we celebrate our victories (for those countries who do) ... let's not forget the One who was victorious over our greatest enemy, death. As we look upon the poppy, a symbol of the blood that was spilled out on the battlefields ... let's not forget the blood that was shed for our sins. As we lay our wreaths at the base of the monuments ... let's not forget to lay our lives at the foot of the cross.
|King of my life, I crown Thee now,|
Thine shall the glory be;
Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow,
Lead me to Calvary.
Lest I forget Gethsemane;
Lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.