Each year I feel a greater sense of sadness, but also pride, at the lengths people are prepared to go to defend what they believe in. This was really brought home in a documentary on Anzac Day about Captain William Johnston Knox, the grandfather of the Ted Baillieu the leader of the Opposition in Victoria. Captain Knox was killed in action in 1917 at Ypres in Belgium.
The letters he wrote to his wife and two year old daughter (Ted Baillieu’s mother) are wonderful, but drew no punches about what he faced. I think everybody needs to know and understand exactly what happened because it’s the only way we can appreciate exactly what they sacrificed: of horses disappearing into mud so sticky and deep they were never seen again, of blankets thick with fleas, and of throwing away clothing after a crawl through mud and limbs. And all this, and so much more, without an ounce of self pity or complaint. He is definitely a man to be proud of.
But I admit to feeling anger too. That the world continues to lose men, women and children because mankind uses bloodshed and death to impose its will on the world, and that others must fight to stop it.
I think we need to hold fast to our sadness, but we have to use our anger to work towards a world that solves problems in a better way.
Call me naïve, but this is my blue print for the future and I would like to see mankind use its better instincts to achieve it. In the past the political and social landscape of a country has gone a long way to helping this be realised, and my prayer for the future (and it doesn’t hurt to cross my fingers as well) is that the new Rudd government delivers this landscape for Australia …