Today thousands across the world took time out to remember those who died for us in battle, were injured, and fought to maintain peace. I include those who fought and returned home to their loved ones because I feel that too often we forget the long-term damage that has been done to those who fought and returned home. Not to underestimate the ultimate sacrifice made by those who lost their lives.
My Bosnian grandfather fought and returned home. A man forced to join the SS against his will. His experiences as a soldier were unimaginable and left him with emotional scars for the rest of his life. Equally, we underestimate how these damaged men and women then pass on those emotional scars to their loved ones as they struggle to rejoin ‘life’. War impacts not just the soldiers but also their loved ones for generations to come. My connection to Anzac Day is particularly moving when I think that World War 1 was triggered in the land of my heritage, the former Yugoslavia.
The assassination of Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie occurred on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo, which at the time was an Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia-Herzigovina. He was assassinated by a Serb nationalist.
When I think of how many more lives have been lost since that day, often in the name of nationalism, I wonder whether it was worth it. Too many lives have been lost. We need to find a better way to settle disputes and differences without resorting to violence. I write these words as civil violence grows in Sudan, and aid continues to be blocked to 3.5 million displaced civilians in Syria. We are not at peace – not yet. But I hope that one day our world will be. What a beautiful thought…to live in a world free of war and violence. Some might say it’s impossible. Maybe. Let’s try. Who knows what we can achieve if the intent is there.
Lest we forget.