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					______________________________________________Pearl Lim


“The Soldier”, by Anonymous, stanza one:
     “Onto the beach he storms
     He goes to fight for country
     On his or distant lands”
Can you see that ANZAC soldier, fighting for his country? As he stepped onto
that beach, preparing to stand, to fight, and to die, did he know what he and
thousands of other ANZACS would create? They forged an aspect of the
ANZAC spirit that is present in the way Australia reacts to international crises
today. That brave, young ANZAC soldier fought for peace, and we continue to
do so today. In the Sudan, in East Timor and the Solomon Islands, Australians
just like that ANZAC, put their lives on the line to keep the peace. All leave
behind loved ones and a home to go forth into the unknown and dangerous,
to fight for something more. They live the lives of the people who seek their
help, and that often means the same suffering, desperation and danger these
victims feel. These Australians endure hardships neither you nor I can
imagine, but still, they do it. Just like that ANZAC.

“The Soldier”, stanza two.
     “For diplomacy has failed
     And all soft talks of peace
     The issue is now for him to shape”
It makes you realize what we’ve learnt from the ANZACS. Diplomacy and soft
talks of peace failed for that ANZAC soldier, but they don’t for us. Rather than
rallying armies, we know that talks of peace can, and have stopped war.
Instead of trying to force into submission, we know that a little bit of
diplomacy, a handshake here and there, unites nations more than conquering
ever did. We’ve learnt that when you disagree with someone, you don’t
declare war on them; you sit down, you talk, and by the end of it, you’re
sometimes even friends. The ANZAC sacrifice taught us that war is not always
the answer. There are other ways of resolving conflict, and by making full use
of these methods, we honour the sacrifice that every ANZAC soldier made.

“The Soldier”. The last stanza.
      “No price too high
      His duty now to pay
      For he is a soldier
      He’s shaped from sterner clay.”
Can you imagine that ANZAC soldier now? Crouched in a crudely dug trench,
he closes his eyes whilst the sound of death echoes above him. BANG! He
knows what is up there, he knows that this, is it. A whispered prayer, as he
thinks of home, family, friends- all he’ll never see again. Then, even though it
is harder than anything he has ever done in his entire life, he opens his eyes,
and climbs out of that trench. Bayonet raised, he walks, even when comrades
fall about him. Continues to walk and walk, and never once does his back fall.
This is courage. This courage is so raw and real, it underpins what is the
ANZAC spirit.

Now imagine a different soldier. There is a boy in my school. He’s not much
older than I, his hair is brown, his eyes are blue. He is also mentally disabled,
and mostly travels in a wheelchair. Not too long ago, I saw him stand up in
front of 500 people in a talent show and sing. Just think, what he would have
felt, waiting in the wings. He knows that there is a chance he will be laughed
off stage, he knows that all his preparation could all backfire in a single
moment. But still, he walks. On this Monday, the crowd fell silent, and then
cheered. No insults or jibes, there was mad applause and cheers. Even though
he was quite bad, we cheered, because we saw the ANZAC spirit in him -
spirit that any one of us, regardless of ability, can draw from our strength,
courage and persistence to rise above ourselves—we saw that, and we
cheered his efforts. Even though he cannot stand unaided for too long, you
could see him stand so tall that day, you just had to applaud.

The ANZAC spirit is reflected in Australia’s peace- keeping efforts, in the
lesson learnt from the ANZAC experience that conflict can be resolved
peacefully. But it is perhaps in you and me that the ANZAC spirit is truly
reflected. I saw that day how that ANZAC soldier’s determination and courage
lived on in a normal, teenaged boy. I saw how peers who didn’t even know his
name, saluted his valour in the greatest show of mateship I have ever seen.
That ANZAC was shaped from sterner clay, but there can be no doubt, that we
are as well.

				
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posted:7/23/2010
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