In my 20’s I was backpacking. We ended up in Turkey and I was lucky enough to go to an ANZAC service in Gallipoli. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life.
The night before we went was a hot 30 degree night. As a way of getting ourselves in the right spirit, the hostel put on the movie Gallipoli. We sat outside on the plastic chairs watching the torn screen. If you’ve seen it you would know, it’s a devastating depiction of what actually happened. And when you think about what those men and women went through… it changes you.
The next day we got to walk through the trenches – which was horrific – the tour guide said ‘who wants to jump in?’ and I didn’t think about it and I said ‘oh yeah, I’ll go’ and then it hit me.
It was dirty, narrow and stank (even 100 plus years later). I realised they would have been able to see the enemy, their pupils, as they were shooting them and I got it. I had been flippant about the experience. But in that moment, I had a glimmer of what it could have been like. To be starving, freezing, lonely, in pain.
Anzac Day was over 100 years ago. There was a risk that people would forget the atrocities and the sacrifices made. For a while, they couldn’t get people to attend the marches. Over 35 years ago, The Australian newspaper did a cover story on the ‘passing of Anzac Day’ it said: ‘It had had its time and it was time to move on’.
But today, Anzac Day has continued to grow – year on year – and our remembrance now has its own rhythm. It’s become our habit to honour those that fought and those who died. Remembrance Day on the 11th of November is a time to remember.
And in a way, us remembering, us turning up to honour others means we’re doing it for them. And as a result, we grow honour and respect.
It’s similar to how we need to set up a rhythm for learning. We need to create our own ‘remembering rhythms’. So that what is awkward and difficult at the start to put in place, becomes habitual and rhythmic. A new way of working.
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