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Posts Tagged ‘Anzac Day’

Which War?

Writing to an older cousin I mentioned the war, confident that he would know I was referring to World War II. For us Baby Boomers born soon after the end of that war it will always be The War. It’s the war our parents were familiar with. My mother-in-law in particular spoke often of her experiences in London during the Blitz. My generation grew up during the Korean War and the Vietnam War, but those never gained the same resonance or the same wholehearted support.

David Hill wrote an essay this week pointing out that Armistice Day, marked at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month was about celebrating peace, whereas Anzac Day can appear to be more about glorifying war. Armistice Day is unknown to many of a younger generation in Aotearoa. A couple of years ago I was making a medical appointment and the date set was 11 November. I remarked to the young receptionist that that would be Armistice Day. She replied that the date was her birthday, but she’d never heard of Armistice Day.

In news reports, especially from Britain the war in Ukraine is becoming The War. At this morning’s Auckland Dawn Service the Ukraine flag flew over the War Memorial Museum at the request of the R.S.A. For many in Aotearoa there is more feeling of connection with this conflict than with past ones in Asian countries, and there is fear as to how it may escalate. Will this be the defining war of the future?

We wonder if war in Ukraine
will involve all the world again

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At the end of April nature is dying in the Southern Hemisphere.  This is our Halloween, traditionally time to remember our beloved dead.  In Aotearoa the focus is on Anzac Day and those who died in war.  The poppies are gone from my garden, but the naked ladies/amaryllis are about to burst into flower – the first sign of spring-to-come.

Naked ladies bursting forth

Months of cold and darkness lie ahead.  We collect the last of the harvest and store it against the leaner times.  I’m going out to spread some compost, and scatter seeds for the coming year.  Recent sunny autumn days have been a golden indication that the seasons change and all is cyclical.

“The wheel is turning through the year
and right now autumn’s gold is here.’

 

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