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The Forum > Article Comments > Remembrance Day: remembering all > Comments

Remembrance Day: remembering all : Comments

By Sasha Uzunov, published 10/11/2008

It seems there are those who still make a distinction between our troops who served in Gallipoli and those who served in Vietnam.

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All politicians from:

- Little Johnny (Khaki Election) Howard,


- (Symbolic Rump up in the air while kissing stone on Kokoda Track) Keating

should keep their beaks out of the ANZAC Legend and Remembrance Day.

There is a difference between dignified remembrance of those who died and the exploitation of the memory, for political purposes or book selling.

Posted by plantagenet, Monday, 10 November 2008 9:17:45 AM
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Remembrance is also Armistice Day and recognises the signing of the armistice that effectively ended World War 1. I certainly agree that those who served in Vietnam and all of the others who endured the nightmares of other wars and conflicts around the world should be recognised in their own right.
Posted by just_dulcie, Monday, 10 November 2008 9:50:42 AM
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The comparison between Gallipoli and Vietnam, while valid and well argued here, is not half so interesting as the comparison between Gallipoli and the Western Front in WW1.

Jonathon King, in an article in The Age today argues that Australia's preoccupation with Gallipoli has overshadowed realities of the Western Front to such an extent that it hardly appeared on the historic radar. Yet that theatre was actually 'five times more important' than Gallipoli.

King argues that, while Paul Keating criticised Australians making the pilgrimage to Gallipoli, he could have taken the debate further by asking us to look beyond Gallipoli towards the real battlefields in France and Belgium.

Gallipoli is often described as a glorious failure, so why do we revere it when we ignore great achievements at the Western Front?

King's assertion that the Western Front was 'five times greater than Gallipoli' is part mathematical: because five times as many Australians served there - 250,000 AIF men served there not just 50,000; 46,000 perished there not 8709; Australians won more than five times more Victoria Crosses - 52 not nine; and Australians troops fought there for 2½ years, not eight months.

But the maths are not the main game. Unlike at Gallipoli where Australians were directed by the British (ultimately shown to be incompetent), by 1918 all Australian troops were led by an Australian, (General Monash). "Most significantly, what happened was not a defeat like Gallipoli because this all-volunteer army of World War I helped win the war...The AIF only constituted 10% of Allied forces but won 25% of enemy territory, prisoners of war, arms and ammunition."

There seems no compelling reason for us to continue the mythology of Gallipoli when there is a much greater positive to remember. Why celebrate a defeat - and glorify gallant losers - when we can remember our soldiers as winners?
Posted by Spikey, Monday, 10 November 2008 10:04:08 AM
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The totally unnecessary Vietnam War was fought under different circumstances and with more enlightened attitudes than was WW1 and the humiliation of Gallipoli. It is more comfortable to remember the distant past than the more recent past for people who really think that fallen soldiers need that sort of thing.

Dwelling on Gallipoli, to me, seems perverse; the slaughter of Australians at the hands of English officers for absolutely no gain. The annual hoo hah and pilgrimage to the battle site is more of an insult than an honour.

How the author can say that the circumstances of Gallipoli and Vietnam are almost the same is hard to figure. There is no similarity between a World War, and intervention in a small country which was no threat to Australia or any other country. The threat came later, after the ignominious defeat, when ‘boat people’ start to flood in here. The same will happen after Iraq and Afghanistan.

There was fierce objection to the Vietnam involvement; fiercer objection to conscription to a war which was none of Australia’s business. There was division and even hatred in families.

While soldiers, particularly conscripts, who fought in Vietnam should never be disparaged, the less said about the Vietnam debacle the better. As the author says, Vietnam is “still tangible”, unlike Gallipoli; and it is still “in living memory” – and that’s the point. We can still remember the division and bitterness Vietnam caused. The division and bitterness will continue as long as people who remember hear the name ‘Vietnam’.

The author says: “The way I see it, if you support the ANZAC legend and Gallipoli, you need to support the Vietnam War. The two are connected.”

Well the two are NOT connected, and it is high time that we stopped ‘supporting’ the ANZAC legend and Gallipoli too. Australia seems to have moved on from its reverence for criminals like Ned Kelly, and it’s well past time we stopped idolising humiliating military defeats.
Posted by Mr. Right, Monday, 10 November 2008 10:10:32 AM
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It is a revultion to me how we NEED people to die for us
[or die for our sins]

lest we forget means we wont be allowed to forget the legend,
yet never know the reality[of young children pressured into pat-rot-ism to die]

what is important about men being forced to enjure stupidity of the highest order[is that it not happen again[yet it sems those more determined to remember keep sending others off to the next war to die.

war is the tool of murder[any soul-dier is FORCED into kill or be killed

it could be said that the only heroes are those who died

[a killer can hardly be a hero[death by any other name is murder]

but there we go indoctrinating CHILDREN about how brave they were to die for us,[BULL ,they died for greed]

how they wont grow old[as we who didnt die grow old
how they didnt see their lovers or children again[in this life]

see that those who glory invading other lands and conducting murder are not heroes

this bells and wistles rememberance[and glorification of war,[or is it dying]is set up to create myth when the reality is any death is futile]and ANY WAR the highest treason to its people

we have the cold blooded murder of millions of young men,
forced to rot in trenches flooded with water

then when they were all sick to bring them home
how conme we dont talk about the flue plague they brought home to kill millions?

it is time to say never again

[and incase you missed the point this celibration [remenberance]was not a victory,and set up the banker take over that even now is bleeding us from our last dollar[less than these brave[but decieved] children got to die on foreign shores[for foreign banker buisness and oppressive cause]
banks fund both sides
its time you knew[the war to end wars didnt end war]

[it never does]
it gives the cash injection to the big buisness of war

[that is paid for in others blood]that feeds the war maCHINERY TILL THE NEXT WAR
Posted by one under god, Monday, 10 November 2008 10:40:22 AM
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‘The tone is reverential for Gallipoli but not for Vietnam. Why this disconnect? The circumstances are almost the same except that Vietnam was a counter-insurgency war and shown on television.’

This ‘exception’ IS the reason for the ‘disconnect’. Advances in mass-communication technology have made it impossible to bury the evidence about our widespread opposition to the Vietnam War. By contrast, the deep and bitter divisions in the Australian population over our participation in WWI has been expunged from virtually all teaching on the subject and from virtually all media coverage on Anzac and Remembrance Days.

Average Australians – drip-fed on sentimental tales of young lads putting up their age to enlist – are unaware that our WWI enlistments had actually dried to a trickle by as early as 1915. Neither are most Australians aware of the two conscription referendums in 1916 and 1917, both of which were defeated (the second by an increased majority, and helped by a majority No vote by soldiers serving at the front). Neither are they aware that, despite our wartime censorship laws being excessively draconian, even by the standards of the time, WWI peace and anti-conscription rallies still managed to draw up to 6-figure crowds in Melbourne and Sydney – astonishing even by today’s standards.

‘All of this tells us that the ANZAC legend has been embraced by nearly all of the community and is alive and well.’

I beg to differ. When The Australian newspaper ran a poll in conjunction with its coverage of Paul Keating’s recent comments that Australians make too much of Gallipoli, 67% voted in favour of Keating by the time the poll closed
Posted by SJF, Monday, 10 November 2008 10:56:33 AM
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