Most Australians recognise ANZAC Day, 25th April, as one of the most important days of the year. ANZAC… now, that is an unusual word … originally it was not a proper word, it was a set of initials which described the Australian and New Zealand soldiers in France during the early stages of the First World War. The Australian government wanted the Australians to be under their own command. So, later a Corps of two divisions was formed, which was commanded by Sir John Monash. This included New Zealanders. Hence, ANZAC came to stand for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
In 1915, the ANZAC men together with British, Indian, and French soldiers were sent to fight in the part of Turkey known as the Gallipoli Peninsula. It was because of the way that the Australian and New Zealanders fought, and the way they faced the hardships and dangers that confronted them that the initials became a word – ANZAC – which today is highly respected in both Australia and New Zealand. The actions of the ANZACS forged what has become known as the ANZAC Spirit and that spirit has been the driving force behind all Australian service personnel ever since. It is also present in the peacekeeping operations that Australian and New Zealand service people undertake today.
The ANZAC spirit represents a sense of purpose and direction. The original ANZACS knew what they had to do, they knew of the dangers and the difficulties but they got down and did not let those difficulties stop them.
Today, we can apply this spirit to our everyday lives. We know what work we have to do at school, etc., and what tasks our parents may have set of us, no matter what difficulties we think are in the way, we need to think of others who have pushed through such difficulties and follow their example. We need to push the difficulties to one side and accomplish the task at hand.
Secondly, the ANZAC spirit represents an acceptance of responsibility. This is another quality that we should apply in our everyday lives. We should take responsibility for everything we do.
The ANZAC spirit also includes a sense of compassion. This means to watch out for our mate, help her or him at all times and don’t poke fun at other people because they have had some misfortune, or come from a different part of the world.
By keeping the faith with those who put the word ANZAC into our language, we will be helping to make sure that the ANZAC spirit always remains part of daily life and helping to build a better Australia.