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25 Apr, 2023
“It’s a struggle, I think, between remembrance and hope. I do not think they need to compete.”
The Bookbinder of Jericho, by Pip Williams
Today we pause to commemorate ANZAC Day and the landing at Gallipoli, Türkiye, of Australian and New Zealand troops in 1914.
This day is steeped in layers of history—both personally for families across the world and as a nation—and it’s marked by services and marches in cities and communities wherever servicemen and women and peacekeepers are stationed.
It’s a day to remember the fallen, the loss of loved ones, the sacrifices they made. But it’s also a time to recognise the freedoms and hope for which they fought.
War, and its ramifications on communities and families are immediate, life-altering and the reverberations, for many, live on. And yet, the acts of sheer courage, mateship, the determination to bring freedom, the painstaking efforts to work for peace and rebuild can also be awe-inspiring. This can be a difficult tension to hold. But like many things—grief and joy, regret and hope, one doesn’t have to be held at the expense of the other. We can hold space for both. For remembrance and hope. For mourning and celebration. For suffering and healing. This revelation can bring much relief and allow us to be fully present to what we are feeling or experiencing at that time.
For ex-servicemen and women, for VAD nurses and peacekeepers, who have quite literally been in the muck and mire of war, this plays out in a vivid and deeply personal way.
There are residents across our services at Fresh Hope Communities who are ex-servicemen and women. Many of those who weren’t, remember what it was like to be left behind—to have their loved ones leave to travel across the seas to fight in wars far from home. Often, they had to fill the gaps in industries left without workers, to care for children and carry extra loads to help keep their families and communities strong.
All their stories—rich, varied, heartbreaking, hopeful—form the architecture of the freedoms we enjoy today. It’s important that we take time to ask questions where it’s appropriate, to listen, and allow them to share their past and in doing so, perhaps learn the art of holding the tension of both remembrance and hope. Finding ways to do this in our own lives, can help us to look with optimism and courage to the future we have the privilege of building, thanks to the many who have gone before us.
Lest we forget.