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The One Day of the Year

In 1960 Alan Seymour wrote a play called the One Day of the Year. It was about generational attitudes to Anzac Day within an Australian family. It had a theme of condemnation by wife and children for the drunken day spent by a return serviceman celebrating with his mates. In 2002 Anzac Day sees a remarkable levelling up of attitudes of youth with older generations and a more sober reflective ex-service person and their spouses. The high proportion of young people in the record Dawn service crowds and the pilgrimage of backpackers to Gallipoli continues to cause comments of surprise.

Why is it so? Perhaps it is the realisation of the relative safety and the civil society of this moat protected island. Perhaps it is the lack of need for rebellious youth with baby boomer parents having more in common with their offspring. Perhaps it is the appreciation and fond remembrance of the ex-service grand parents of current youth.

Perhaps the one surprise is the lack of profile of the Vietnam veterans. They are now the most populous returned service persons. Their War was as big a disaster as was Gallipoli and when they returned home they were ignored. Why are they at the back of the marches? Maybe when they become a scarcity they will receive more prominence on the One Day of The Year.

Posted Thursday, 25 April 2002

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