I attended the Dawn Service at Melton today with most of my children and my friend David and his son. This is a tradition that I have upheld since I left the Royal Australian Navy in 2000, which I believe to be important. It was a fantastic turn out, and is growing in numbers every year. Even our local Federal member, Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard attended and gave a moving oration.
I served in the first Gulf War onboard HMAS Adelaide 1990-1991, as part of the Coalition forces who removed the Iraqis from Kuwait. We were patrolling the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf enforcing UN sanctions. Not a lot of action, but certainly scary times, and certainly not a something I would wish upon my kids. Try sleeping at night, on a warship, below the waterline, when you know that the enemy had placed sea mines in your vicinity. It doesn’t make for a good nights sleep. Not even close to full blown combat, but your adrenaline pumps hard and fast quite a bit of the time.
Peace is something to be well respected in this day and age, but life is lived without a thought about this sacrifice except on this day, ANZAC Day. This day is one of remembrance, not the glorification of war.
I believe that by upholding this tradition, it sends a message to our children that sending anyone to fight in any conflict is not something to be rushed into and any decisions to do so should be thought about hard and long. They are the future, and it is up to us to show them the way.
Blessed are the Peacemakers, for sometimes they pay the ultimate sacrifice so that we may live in freedom.