‘Their day at the beach: The stark hit of reality for the safety we enjoy today’

Apr 25, 2021
The beach where the Anzacs landed before that fateful Gallipoli Campaign in World War I. Source: Getty Images

After summer has settled, it is now autumn. That time of year, when our thoughts turn to the our forefathers. In the past few months, it was still a pandemic world. I noted people in bikinis and budgie smugglers, whinging about being expected to wear masks for their day at the beautiful beach.

Health is wealth, I thought. Such young folk must have nothing much else to moan about, as they enjoyed one of our great Australian freedoms. On this Anzac Day, we pause and give tribute to the flower of past generations, the diggers, and their loved ones at home, battling on to support the soldiers and each other.

I am thinking of their days on the beach at Gallipoli, 1915. A total military disaster, as the brave Anzacs were massacred by the Turks, while disembarking from their boats, at the wrong landings. But our boys kept on keeping on, trying to assail the ridges, where the Turks held the high ground. Not much of a day at the beach. With valour, the diggers passed into glory.

Wind the clock forward, to Normandy, D-Day in 1944. It was another day on the beach for the Allies, a tale of perseverance. There were heavy casualties on both sides, including for the Germans. Their days on the beach rolled into time, and founded the base for the successful Allied invasion of occupied Europe.

Then, in 1945, another day on the beach, at Iwo Jima. There was an attack on the Japanese, which gained our side vital ground in possession, a stepping stone to victory. They were all very brave troops, having days on the beach, overcoming heavy enemy gunfire, land mines and aerial bombardment. Massacres everywhere.

Now it is the 21st century. Yes, people were expected to wear masks for their day on the beach. “We wish,” might have thought the Anzacs, the diggers, the Allies. All the courageous young soldiers, sailors and airmen, who never returned. They were saving our great Australian freedoms. They were someone’s sons, someone’s brothers, someone’s sweethearts. They never came home from their day at the beach.

It is Anzac Day again, as we show our respects for all our forefathers. We do take every freedom in Australia for granted. That is what they were all fighting for, liberty for the future. ‘Thank you’ is the least we can think.

As I wrote, we have nothing much to whinge about, a mask, for a day at the beach!

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Do you think it is important to reflect on the sacrifice of our Anzacs? How will you commemorate Anzac Day?

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