Museum of Freemasonry - Masonic Library
Accepting Anzac Day as a true National Day is never difficult for people of an older generation. Their history and experience have proved it worthy to be held as such. There is, however, need to demonstrate it to the young, the migrant and the uncommitted as best representing all within our Nation which is good and true and permanent. The Veterans of World War II adopted it with reverence and honour (when they could have chosen other, later days, well known to them) because they saw it was the source of all things past and present, worth remembering ‑ a day from yesterday to take into tomorrow.

The several days that we remember, have their qualities, but none has impact equal to the claim of Anzac Day. Within the ranks of those who served, were old Australians, English, Europeans, Aborigines and Asiatics, the rich, the poor, the talented and humble. All these were joined in life and death, in joy and tragedy as never they had been before ‑ as seldom they are joined today. It was a time when we were drawn together in our need, not sundered by our greed, intolerance and indifference. A time of sacrifice has little room for selfishness or personal aggrandisement.

When our Australian Servicemen first went abroad, they set a precedent in reconciliation. Till then, their fathers had come to this land because of problems in their former countries, or a lack of opportunity which a new home would rectify. The young men of Australia went back to help their former "relatives" when they were threatened by the Armageddon which descended on them like a hurricane. The New World had come back to help the Old, and that is why the message is still relevant to youth today, to people from those countries scarred by war and to the rest of us in lasting safety who "could not care less" for human suffering. They volunteered, they coped but some of them did not come back to see again the land whence they "derived their birth and infant nurture." Anzac Day is theirs. They won it and the Nation freely gave it to them.

A major criticism is that Anzac Day proclaims the glory and the benefits of war, that it is but an alcoholic binge for tired old men to lick their wounds and brag in public. Such charges are not only mischievous, they are misleading and untrue. The Service starts at dawn ‑ that mystic hour between the night and day, like countless other human ceremonials. The march is reverent and commemorative ‑ not like other marches in our streets, full of disruption and aggressiveness. The final service is reflective and a tribute to the ones whose "Warfare is accomplished." The Last Post sounds and anyone who does not shed some hidden tears has something lacking in his soul.

Then comes the Miracle of Anzac Day. Reveille sounds. The Dead awake. The future has arrived. We shed our sorrows and extol the virtue of true loyalty and friendship, and every one of us is just a little better for the act of memory.

Will Anzac Day endure? It must, if we are to remain a proud and generous people. It must, if human values are to guide our destiny. It must, if we are to contribute to the building of a better world.

Today we still fight on against the enemies of want, injustice and political enslavement. A bright reveille will be sounded when they go and all the world can say,

"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."

(1 Cor. 15:26)

The NSW Freemason, VoL 18, No. 6 April 19