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The Lucky Country becoming the Land of Whingers, as complaints roll in about ANZAC Day services

This makes my blood boil. In my local paper this week was a page full of complaints from participants at our local dawn service last Saturday. I read similar reports on a number of regional papers I follow on line. What is going on in this country????? Surely we’re better than this?

mosman_daily_lettersSo there weren’t enough loud speakers and entertainment to keep participants happy (yes my son was bored, I told him to suck it up and be thankful he’s not a soldier!). People couldn’t see enough of the service (given it was DARK I’m not sure what they were expecting to see??) Really, is this what we’ve become? A nation of whingers? Shame on you, letter writers and anyone else who whinged about the quality of their local service.

I attended the service that was the source of these complaints.  Yes, it was challenging to hear the speakers.  But I didn’t need fancy speeches to remind me of the sacrifices our soldiers and their families have made for this nation.

The Dawn Service is a time to remember, a token gesture to honour those who have served.  Loudspeakers aren’t a necessity to achieve this.

Pop Pop war service_jpgDuring the quiet of the morning and as the sun peacefully rose over the harbour, I was remembering my maternal grandfather Sergeant Arthur Leslie Parker, who served on continuous full time war service in WW2 for 1,579 days with the AIF.  For four years, three months and twenty-seven days he endured what no man should ever endure. He saw his friends blown apart in Egypt, Palestine, Tobruk and New Guinea.  He suffered horrific injuries. He left a wife and small child behind when he enlisted, and though he returned to Australia’s shores after the war he was in every respect a broken man.  Every member of his family bore the scars of his service.

Yes, the RSL sub-branches all over the country could have planned things a little differently for the Gallipoli centenary.  Or, members of the community could have stepped up, volunteered to help on the day, and supported the dwindling RSL membership with this.

It’s so very easy to complain afterwards, but let’s not become a nation of whingers.

As a regular participant at Dawn Services across the country, I have never seen numbers anything like those that turned out this year. I wonder how many of those that complained had attended a service last year, and how many will be there next year?

The Master of Ceremonies at my local service expressed his surprise and great delight as the dawn exposed the sheer scale of residents who were up early to see in the day and honour the diggers. I must say I felt a real sense of community at being part of such a gathering too.

Let’s make a commitment to all turn out in full force again next year, loudspeakers or not.

Lest we forget.

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"The only moment we ever really have is this one - celebrate it. Happiness isn't in the future or the past but in the awareness of the present." - Anna McPhee

Anna's words are how she lived her life. She has been an amazing inspiration, a wonderful support, a gracious mentor to me throughout my career. So many of us counted her as a girlfriend to look up to, and her legacy will live on in the many women she has inspired to live their very best life.

I will miss her.

Sending condolences to Reggie, Anna's beautiful mum Trish and adoring sisters, and all of her extended family.

Vale Anna Marsali McPhee (1970 - 2017)
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