Yesterday in Melbourne, Australia Jr and I made most of our final rounds of the city. It was a zooming affair as we filled up the digital memory card of our family camera. Of all the amazing things that we saw nothing touched me the way the Shrine of Remembrance did. Victoria’s largest war memorial did its job and stirred me to my roots. The sheer volume and enormity of the grounds is a reminder to all just how awful war is. Memorials like this litter the globe as reminders to the horror that was the First World War and sadly enough additions from a second world war don most to all of them. The fact that these grounds remain unblemished by urban growth in one of the worlds faster growing seats of economic power are a transcendent reminder of just how important it is that we don’t forget the evil that is war.
Video games, Hollywood showmanship and evening newscasts have all done their part in desensitizing us to the horrors of war. Someone is always selling something and they all play their role in the selling of misconception. We forget that war wrecks lives, families and countries. I actually find it kind of ironic that there was a hall of medals and a row of flags at the memorial. Yes, someone has to sell some glory just in case we need some more brave souls to sacrifice next time. And is it not flags of all colors that cause wars in the first place? I recently had the opportunity to buy my son some souvenirs from another journey I was on. I almost bought him knick knacks marked with the flags of his two countries but instead bought something else. When does the indoctrination start? I decided then to raise Jr with an international spirit and to tie him to no flag. Maybe one day it will save his life.
I am not so naïve to not know that there are evil people out there who wish to do us harm and know that we need to defend ourselves from them. I am also not so naïve to know that there are people all over the world who thirst for power and wealth that tell those that follow them who to hate. Bigotry is bred from ignorance and prejudice from fear. Wars are fought because of ignorance and fear. Peace may not always be attainable (yet) but it should always be the ultimate goals of peoples and nations. Through peace comes prosperity and through prosperity comes growth. Humanity has always grown through peaceful times. That progress comes through malicious warfare is only a myth of those that wage it.
When I write peace and love all at the end of each article it is not just something cutesy to end my columns with. It is something I mean and hope for.
On the outskirts of the Shrine of Remembrance lies the Cobber’s Memorial. Here is the sad story of the Cobber.
From the Cobber Memorial at the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia “Fromelles, a small village in northern France, took on eternal significance for Australia when it became the site of the first major battle fought by Australians on the Western Front during the First World War (1914-1918).
The ill-conceived operation, in the relatively inactive Fromelles sector, was intended to deter the Germans from transferring men from there to the Somme, where a substantial allied offensive was launched on 1 July 1916.
The battle began in the afternoon 19 July 1916, when 5th Australian Division and 61st British Division advanced towards the German trenches. A preparatory bombardment had not succeeded in quelling the German defenses, and the attackers particularly the Victorian 15th Brigade, encountered a hail of machine-gun fire. Later that night a renewed assault foundered and casualties climbed even higher when the Australians moved forward and a pre-arranged, simultaneous British advance failed to eventuate. All involved were eventually withdrawn to their pre-attack positions.
When the fighting ceased German soldiers remained in position having determined early that the attack was diversionary. Devastating casualties had mounted to 5,553 Australians (including 400 prisoners) and 1,547 British. In the days following the battle rescuers recovered some 300 men from no-man’s- land.
As one soldier carried a wounded companion from the field he heard a call from for help:
DON’T FORGET ME COBBER.
The 5th Australian division was crippled and unavailable for months. In one night at Fromelles Australia casualties were equivalent to those in the Boer, Korean and Vietnam wars combined…”
War is hell. Next time someone tells you to hate, think twice.
Peace and love all.