It’s ANZAC Day here in aus. No, I haven’t been to the dawn service. I’m not a morning person at all. But I do remember. I do feel thankful and grateful to the people who have served in the defence forces for our country and the ones who didn’t come back alive. But not just for them. I feel sorry for those who came back with a changed self. Those who are now labelled with the Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder. You can’t see it. But those who have it can feel it. The difference in their lives. Their outlook on life. Their view of everything. Such an aussie attitude ‘She’ll be right, mate.’ Our expectation that no matter how bad things get, they will turn out ok. And sadly, it’s not just ‘the bad guys’ who behave badly in such situations. The situations that our men and women find themselves in can’t really be understood, just imagined, by us who get to turn the tv off or close the book and go to bed in a safe place. What we find out about ourselves and our mates in these situations can be just as scary. It’s easy to be philosophical sitting in your loungeroom. It’s easy to argue the pro’s and con’s of any situation over a drink.
And what of the rise in cancers of people who served in Vietnam? Another thing that was not evident when they came home, but they had to suffer twice; three times if you count PTSD.
For those who died, and for those who live and suffer – We remember, and We Do Care, and We Are Thankful.
And that brings me to another problem. I have two sons. I was quite upset when I realised in Year 10 that they wanted to join the Defence Forces. Not to fight you understand, but to learn a trade, or go to uni. And they pay you. I was distressed because I don’t really want my boys dying, or being treated for PTSD. And I feel guilty about that. I was upset that the Defence Force was in to lecture at the school in year 10 in April, whilst other careers were not put out there till August of Year 10. And the fact that the Defence Force had made mentionn of the amount of money you are paid when you enter the Forces to the young people. 16 and 17 yo’s are taken in by that amount of money. My kids and most of them around here don’t have much concept of killing people. I can’t imagine them pulling a trigger on someone although I’m sure that given the right situation for long enough they could learn it. But it does make me feel guilty. I don’t want to send my son, am I willing to let you send yours though? The thing is that atm even though we are really ‘Peace Keeping Forces’ our men and women are being killed. And sent home damaged in other less visible ways. I don’t want my boys going because I don’t want them coming home that way, anymore than I want them in a car accident. But whereas a car accident is unplanned – when you join the Defence Forces you are planning to do what needs to be done if it needs to be done. But I also don’t feel that it is right to want to protect mine – because that means that it would be yours going. And that seems wrong too. I know there just isn’t anything ‘right’ about wars but it’s hard to get your head around these things as a mother. I know if I lived in some of the countries where we are currently trying to keep the peace I’d want someone to come help us and my sons (and daughters.) So I have no idea where this is going – because if there was an easy answer to wars we would surely have found it by now? I don’t have a long history of war heroes. Most of both sides of my family came from farming areas and were encouraged to stay there. So I only have one Uncle who joined up and didn’t get to leave the country anyway. And my mother – who joined the WAAF’s. She painted ‘dope’ onto parachutes. Because of the fumes of the ‘dope’ (no idea what it really was) the women who did this were given milk to drink every day to combat any side effects. A few of those women, my mother included died of cancer later on in their 50’s and 60’s. But I don’t have uncles and grandfathers covered in medals. I just have farmers blood flowing in my veins. And I can’t help thinking that there must be something that we could come up with to stop all this war business. We have teflon coating, we have satellite internet – we have internet at all! We use radiation to kill and to cure, and to diagnose. We can operate on you with lasers. But we can’t stop people wanting to kill, wanting to overpower.
Lest We Forget – not just those who died, but those who were damaged in invisible ways.
We Do Remember and We Are Thankful. And We Always Will Be;
even though we wish that there was no need for it to happen at all; to anyone.