Let me paint you a picture. You wake up in the morning and get ready for school. You step outside the door and inhale the fresh morning air and admire the song of the birds. You walk through your peaceful and friendly neighbourhood to school, where you find your teacher happy and ready to teach you.
As you enter the classroom you see your friends, all there for the same reason as you, to learn. Despite your varied differences, like the colour of your hair, eyes and skin, you all get along. After school, you go to soccer training where you see all your friends join in a sport that peacefully unites countries. When you’re finished, you go home and share in a dinner with your family, all around the dinner table.
Does this sound familiar to some of you? This is what I imagine is the lifestyle of many Australian teenagers. But let me paint you another picture.
You wake up in the morning and turn to see all your friends laying with bandages around their wounds, with mud and blood smeared on their faces. You get up from your sleeping position and inhale the smell of decaying flesh, and you grimace at the sound of gunfire. You crawl through the dilapidated landscape and flooded trenches, to see your General desperately trying to win the battle. Through the trenches, you see your mates, from home, wounded and exhausted. You fight the whole day with no hope of victory, and at the end of the day, you attend to the wounded men who call for their mothers. When you're finished, you eat what small army rations are available, while laying shoulder to shoulder with your comrades to keep warm.
I don’t expect any of you to recall this reality, thankfully that was one that our soldiers experienced nearly a century ago. But without this reality, yours would only be a dream. And a dream that many teenagers in places around the world hold on to.
When people hear the word ANZAC, they typically think of the young soldier boys hopping on ships with huge adventurous aspirations and misconceptions of war, who we remember on the 25 April. They never think of the current serving men and women who risk their lives to stop the conflicts and help bring peace around the world today. In 2018, there is around 2270 personnel actively working in ongoing overseas conflict and peacekeeping operations.
There are other soldiers who don’t serve in overseas operations, rather these heroes are all around us, whether we know it or not. They serve us, protect us and give their lives to uphold the values of this country. They are the nurses, doctors, chaplains, scientists, even our teachers, that are forever making decisions to benefit their fellow citizens.
This ANZAC day, rather than just going to the commemorative ceremony to remember the soldiers who died in the world wars a long time ago, remember and thank the soldiers that leave their families behind to make sure you can be with yours.
As a school, we will be remembering the sacrifice that Australian and New Zealander defence personnel gave in the past and continue to do so, but I encourage you to attend the local ceremony at Mundaring, where wreaths can be laid by the public. This is an opportunity to show your gratefulness for the courage that ANZAC's in the past have shown for this country to be formed on.
By Abigail C - Year 10 Student
(Image: MCC 'Girls and Boys Brigade' students at the Australian Flag during the Primary ANZAC Assembly)