ANZAC day is the most important national Australian commemoration
The 25 April is enshrined in the Australian national character as a day not only for remembering Australia's war dead, but also for celebrating all that is uniquely and proudly Australian. It provides a cultural and sentimental national rallying point where other commemorations such as Australia Day (26 January) fail to do so.
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Anzac provides a unique and widely relevant rallying day to commemorate, where no other commemorations do
Australia is a nulticultural and extremely diverse nation. This perhaps explains the general lack of popular enthusiasm which greets the arrival of any national day of commemoration such as Australia Day (26 January), and in the past events such as 'Empire Day'. To be attracted to the former requires a knowledge of and passion for Australia's foundation in 1788. Interest in the latter died out years ago as Australia found its own national identity.
Anzac day, born of the universal need to reflect upon those who have died for any given cause, unites not only 'in memoriam', but also in the sense Anzac day engenders of true 'Australianness'. However flawed the 'Anzac legend' or the mythology surrounding the traditional Australian 'larrakin' male, all Australians feel an unquestioned sense of pride in, and loyalty to their nation.
In short, it is an occasion unsullied by post-colonial questioning, or self-conscious embarrasment, and one which all Australians feel they can rightly celebrate and associate with.
Australia Day still exists and is still celebrated.
it is important, but important to some people for the wrong reasons.
I believe that ANZAC day is a day to show respect for the dead, and not to celebrate what they did in Gallipoli, because it wasn't a good thing. 7,594 Australian people were killed and 20,000 injured.
Is war even worth all of this??
I dont believe that it shows the "true Australian spirit" because if you think about it, what Australians actually support war?
ANZAC day is to show respect to the dead and thank them for what they did,and not to show true Australian spirit and if people in Australia didn't want to support ANZAC day I would completely understand because I dont believe that supporting a thing(the Gallipoli war) that in total killed 99,893 people.
However, I do support ANZAC day but because I respecy what they did for our country. People these days are supporting ANZAC day for the wrong reasons. A lot of people are supporting ANZAC day for the war, but it's not about the war, it's about the people who died in the war.
Variety in aim and background facilitates widespread commemoration
The celebration of Anzac, day (and the point is made in this very debate!) encompasses a wide range of sentiment - this is why it is so popular, and why most Australians connect with it!
Based on a myth
Anzac day is based on the mythology of the 'Anzac Legend', the sacrificial acts of brave 'digger' soldiers of the Australia New Zealand Army Corps, at Gallipoli, from April-November 1915. As historians such as Graham Seal have highlighted, the stereotypical 'digger' - resisting authority, engaged in 'mateship', shrewd, bawdy and tough - and the sense of idealised Australianism that that image gave birth to, was rarely a reality, a construct and mirage produced by over-eager contemporary journalists like Charles Bean, from 1915 onwards.
The legend of Anzac has little relevance to the predominantly urban Australia to today, and most Australians feel the need to remember on Anzac day, explaining widespread observance, but not to celebrate the birth of the nation, as commentators may like to think.
Anzac day is imposed by politicians - not commemorated through popular sentiment.
People celebrate Anzac largely not because they have a direct interest in the issue of Anzac day and all it stands for, but because they cannot be anything other than swept up in the machine of publicity and political media-driven campaigns such as 'Australia Remembers' in 1995.
Anzac badges, Church services and political oratory grind into action with complete inevitability every year, and Australian's partake not through any deep-felt wish to do so, but are simply caught up in it all.
What does it stand for again? A lack of cohesive meaning.
When Anzac day was first commemorated in 1916, Australian and New Zealand soldiers still fought on in the bloody fields of northern France during World War One. Thereafter, it became an opportunity to reflect upon those who had died in the Great War, and particularly (though only 13% of Australian casualties occured there*) those who fell at Gallipoli.
The Second World War saw its reinvention as a commemoration for Australians who died in all wars, a sentiment reinforced by Malaya, Vietnam, and other conflicts.
Yet Anzac day has been seen variously as a day for remembering, a celebration of all it means to be Australian, and observance of the very creation of the Australian nation in the eyes of its inhabitants, and the wider world, as an entity worthy of nationhood apart from the British Empire. The question to ask then, is 'what does Anzac day stand for now?' It has no cohesive meaning, and as such can hardly be seen as an event uniting or commemorating any one thing on a popular level if everybody partakes is doing so for a plethora of diverse reasons.
*Beaumont, J. Australia's War, 1914-1918, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1995, p. xx
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