Stand Fast

Have we lost the true meaning of Anzac Day?

Living in Bondi for more than 20 years, Vietnam veteran Gerry Binder has seen his share of local Anzac Day celebrations and says he is “horrified” with much of what he has seen.

Mr Binder is a member of Stand Fast, a group of veterans who oppose the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and he said he believed the true meaning of Anzac Day is being lost in the “spectacle”.

“The original idea was to remember the brutality that war is so that we would never let it happen again, not marching up and down with bands and people waving and shouting and cheering,” he said.

“I’ve marched in Anzac Day marches and I was horrified that people are bringing their kids to cheer, to clap. I don’t want to be congratulated; I want them to understand that this must not be repeated.”

Mr Binder said there was a false and dangerous assumption that most Australians hid behind: that governments decide to wage war only for the right reasons and that to question those reasons is unpatriotic.

“That has got to be questioned. If that assumption isn’t broken, we’ll just keep going to bad wars,” he said.

“Sending our soldiers to a war that is not just is misusing their courage and abusing their integrity. They put their life on the line because they think we’re doing the right thing.”

This Anzac Day, Mr Binder said he hoped that people would take a moment to think about the ways we must avoid war in the future through understanding, dialogue and conflict resolution.


From Wentworth Courier, Sydney, Australia

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