The future of Anzac Day / by Mario Mirabile

The celebration of Anzac Day began as early as 1916, just one year after the Gallipoli landings. It quickly became an established national day of commemoration for the fallen, and continued to grow in prominence up to the years following WWII. The unpopularity of the Vietnam War, together with a growing acknowledgement of the violence and atrocities committed in war, saw the day become somewhat controversial through the 60s and 70s. Attendances at commemorative services dropped, and interest in the day itself waned.

However, as the number of surviving WWI veterans decreased, the 80s saw an international resurgence of interest in the history of the war. Attendances at Anzac services gradually increased, and the revival of interest was particularly noticeable among the young. Whether this was due to a new found respect for the service of previous generations, or a desire not to repeat the mistakes of the past, the number of young faces quickly grew to outnumber the old. And perhaps by having a deeper understanding of where Australia has been in the past, they will develop a better appreciation of where it should go in the future. They are, after all, the ones who will be taking it there.