Make A Call This Anzac Day
At dawn this Monday morning Australians and New Zealanders will wake to remember and thank veterans who have served their country. There will be particular attention placed on the battles waged at Gallipoli and the generational loss that two fledgling nations suffered in the four years to 1918.
Stories of honour and tradition born from this early part of our history have been carried through nine major campaigns since Vietnam, not including Afghanistan and the very recent participation in Iraq and Syria. And whilst a source of national pride and strength, the ANZAC legend for many is bitter sweet.
As we make progress towards understanding the true physical and emotional cost that military deployment has on those who have served and their families, three sobering themes emerge; The first is that post traumatic stress is real and it’s not new (shell shock has been around since World War One). The second is that as a nation we have first-hand experience in how NOT to support veterans, just reflect on how Australia treated those who returned from Vietnam. Many agree that this history must not be repeated. The third, and possibly the most difficult perspective to adjust, is that veterans can now be in their mid-20s and not their late-80s.
At Soldier On we are acutely aware that for many the battles they endured follow them every day of their life. We also know that 35 contemporary veterans took their own lives last year. Besides suicides, we know of numerous suicide attempts, broken homes and a growth in veteran homelessness.
So on Monday do more than just attend an Anzac Day service. Make a phone call to a friend or family member who is a veteran or first responder and start the call by saying, “Thank you for your service”.
If you want to go one step further, learn about Why Veterans Miss War, How Remembering Starts Tomorrow, How To Re-Imagine the Modern Veteran or the One Question To Never Ask A Veteran. You can also contact Soldier On and ask how you can help. You’ll be doing your part to help support our veterans and their families with a better life and make sure we can reach our aim of having the best supported generation of service men and women, and their families, in Australia’s history.
This Monday, while Master of Ceremonies at the first dawn service atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge, I will be celebrating the life of my friend and special forces veteran Matty Kappler who departed this life in June last year following an unexpected heart attack.
What will you be doing and thinking this Anzac Day?