Have we forgotten ANZAC Day?

For Australians, ANZAC Day is traditionally a time of reverence and reflection of the diggers who fought in The Great War. It’s an important day where we admire the courage and self-sacrifice of those who have defended our country. However, a recent study shows that almost half the population don’t plan to commemorate it this year.

The study, conducted by online research group Lightspeed GMI, shows that only 54.4 per cent of Australians plan to commemorate ANZAC Day this year. And, although this number is lower than most people would have expected, the ones who do mark this special day in our history, will do so with deep reverence.

australian soldiers stand at attention

For 83.6 per cent of those who choose to mark ANZAC Day, it’s a time to remember those brave soldiers and service personnel – both men and women – who have fallen in battle, with just over a third of that number specifically paying respects to loved ones who have fought for Australia at some stage, and around a quarter using the day to remember a loved one who fought for another country.

Another 12.9 per cent of Australians see the ANZAC Day simply as a day off work.

Of those who choose to celebrate ANZAC Day, the top three ways to observe the day include, in order, celebrating with family, attending a dawn service and spending time with friends. Surprisingly, the traditional ANZAC Day march and reunions with friends and comrades did not receive a mention in the top three.

aussie digger at anzac day service

Only 6.5 per cent plan to partake in ‘two-up’, the game traditionally played on ANZAC Day to mark a shared experience with diggers throughout the ages, indicating that the day is seen more as a time of reflection and not so much as a day for playing.

Perhaps surprisingly, many Australians are divided over how ANZAC Day should work as a public holiday. Last year, some states were denied the public holiday because ANZAC Day fell on the Saturday. When asked what they thought of this, 52.9 per cent of those surveyed agreed that it was okay, whilst 47.1 per cent disagreed. When asked why they came to this decision, those who agreed said: “ANZAC Day is about taking the time to remember the fallen, if it falls over a weekend you don’t need a day off as you already have the time.”

Whilst those who disagreed said: “ANZAC Day, after Australia Day, is the most significant day in our calendar – a public holiday is fitting. After all we have [a] public holiday for the Queen’s Birthday, [and] that no longer has any meaning for Australians.”

The study also found that the words most commonly associated with ANZAC Day are ‘remembering’, ‘respect’ and ‘national heritage’.

How do you commemorate ANZAC Day? Do you still feel that ANZAC Day is relevant? If 25 April falls on a weekend, should we have a public holiday in lieu? Do you believe such commemorations merely glorify war in an already violent world?

Read more at The Daily Mail

Related articles:
Five great war movies
The emotion of the Western Front
David’s Anzac biscuits

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