With the dust of the Anzac centenary still in the air, the legend that inspires us to attend dawn services is a celebration of bravery and courage in spite of the madness of political and military masters that were responsible for the intractable situations that met the soldiers. The game of two-up was possibly the only glimmer of choice for those in the firing line and has become synonymous with their plight. Lady Luck, however, was upstaged by her elder sister, Miss Fortune, who sealed the fate of many a hapless soul.
If these lads laid down their lives for our freedom, they would be at a loss to know why we now have mandatory voting, detention and the latest addition, vaccination.
Conscription was a political hot potato in that time but has been used since then in the Vietnam War. Mandatory edicts are signs that normal regulatory mechanisms have failed and the knee-jerk reaction to the problem reveals the panic behind the decision.
There’s nothing quite like a parade to stir up those good ol’ feelings of patriotic fervour and gratitude for freeing Barabbas instead of Christ. Funny though, that after 99 years of proclaiming a public holiday for this baptism of fire, that on the centenary of that occasion it was seen fit to revoke it.
Not so with the Queen’s birthday, however. In fact we just had a year recently in which we had two separate holidays to mark the occasion which has now outlived the spilled blood of our own sons.
But therein lies the rub.
As long as we give currency to authority by yielding to it, we shall always be subject to masters in their various forms. Government and royalty are the most visible but more lie beneath the surface in the form of banks, credit agencies and employers. Their version of the game is called ‘Heads I win, Tails you lose’.
The Anzacs were famous not just for their bravery but also their true blue qualities of irreverence and larrikinism. The rebel in us all can take comfort in their dry humour and sarcastic optimism.
That’s one parade that won’t get rained upon.