Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Anzac Day

That's right, peoples. It's Anzac Day. ANZAC once stood for "Australia and New Zealand Army Corps," a vast aggregation of young men who were fed into the meatgrinder at Gallipoli. That operation commenced on 25 April 1915.

Like most encounters of the Great War, the Gallipoli campaign was a massive strategic failure that ended in stalemate and a truly astonishing loss of human life. Turks, Kiwis, Aussies, British, and French troops (including many colonial troops) fought and died for a few yards of harsh territory; the mud of the Western Front was replaced by sand and rock. Songwriter Eric Bogle composed a moving, fitting, beautiful tribute to the Anzac troops entitled "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda." I was lucky enough to hear this song performed live once in Australia. If it doesn't move you, then you're dead inside.

Why do I bring this up? Anzac Day is like Memorial Day and Independence Day rolled into one for our friends in the Antipodes. Ideally, we would not need special days set aside for reflection and remembrance; however, since it seems to be the doom of humans that we forget, perhaps it's for the best. Especially since you probably haven't heard a lot about this lately. It's also a reminder that, even though a mission can be completely FUBAR, the individuals tasked with it can acquit themselves heroically. Put more simply, supporting the troops doesn't necessarily carry over to supporting the war.

Also, a dear, dear friend in Sydney took the occasion of Anzac Day to write me a letter. As I hadn't heard from her in a while, I was reminded of King Solomon's Proverbs; specifically, one from Chapter 25: "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country."

Yes, it is.

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