Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Anzac Day

I spent a wonderful Anzac Day with my grandfather in Rotorua. We attended an excellent service at the Town Hall, followed by lunch and a mug of hot, whiskey enhanced coffee at the local RSA. There was a strong contingent of old soldiers in attendance, and as with elsewhere around the country, a mighty turnout from younger people.

There has been alot of comment about the increased numbers attending on Anzac Day, and it is my view that this reflects a real desire among young people, not just to understand what has happened in our past, but to reflect on what it is to be a New Zealander, and more simply, a human being.

The decline of traditional religion, and the accompanying rise of ephemeral consumerism has in my view left young people in a funny sort of place. All of the messages we receive in our 24/7 society tell us to live for the moment and seek instant gratification, yet from our families and human relationships we know that there are far more important things. I think that for New Zealanders, the memory of servicepeople who fought for others in the name of great principles, is a valuable antidote to the modern sense of spiritual emptiness.

And yes, I do think it was appalling for Brash to make a snide political comment at the service he attended. On Anzac day politicians should sit there quietly, or at the most perform their ceremonial duties and give a solemn tribute to those who fell. End of story, no excuses.

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