Youth hold key to Anzac future

Posted: May 14, 2012 by Karisa Whelan in Arts & Culture, Social Issues
Tags: , , , , , ,

by Karisa McCauley

Young people are the key to keeping Anzac Day alive.

Milton Ulladulla RSL president Paul Warren says engaging younger people in Anzac Day was the biggest, and most important, challenge faced by veterans associations.

While crowds have been growing at Anzac Day ceremonies across Australia, Mr Warren said it was essential to ensure that many of those gathered were families and children who understood the importance of the day.

Anzac day is a time of reflection

“Without the participation from the general public – particularly the number of young people who turn out on the day – Anzac Day would fold,” he said.
“It’s a time of reflection – for veterans and for the general public.”
Services held in schools and younger people participating in ceremonies work together to teach kids about the Anzac Day tradition.

Parents and teachers play an important role in teaching kids about Anzac Day, according to Mr Warren.

“We hope that Anzac Day is a chance for every parent to take a moment and explain to their children about Australia’s involvement in armed conflict,” Mr Warren said.

“I’d like to see parents teaching them the importance of showing their respect, but not just on Anzac day.”

University of South Australia academic, Dr Paul Skrebels believes the popularity of Anzac Day is on the increases but urges caution.

“The fact that Anzac Day has emerged as a strong remembrance day is indeed a significant development in the Australian psyche,” says Dr Skrebels.

“Becoming nationalistic reinforces an “us” and “them” mentality.

“We have to be careful not to let the ugly Australian emerge.”

It is through education that young people will commemorate Anzac Day for the right reasons, according to Mr Warren.

Great information on the Anzac tradition and how to teach it is available here.

Premier Anzac Memorial Scholarship recipient Zac Smith
Anzac Memorial Scholarship winner Zachary Smith spoke at the Milton Anzac Day service and said he has been attending Anzac Day events in the Milton Ulladulla area since he was a child.

“I’ve always come along with my parents,” he said.

“I do think it is really important to get kids involved.”

“It’s great to see more kids coming along to the march and the service each year.

“It’s a really significant day – getting this scholarship has made me look even more into the whole tradition and I think honouring our troops and, I guess, our history is really important.”

Read more about Zac’s scholarship here.

The efforts of the RSL and local schools seem to be working with a record number of attendees at all Anzac Day events held in the Milton Ulladulla area this year, despite inclement weather.

The Dawn Service and function at the Ulladulla ExServos Club were popular with an older audience but it was the march through Milton that drew the largest audience.

Hundreds of spectators lined the streets, many of them children, all eager to clap as the march formation made it’s way past.

Many children joined the march to represent their school, social or sporting club with groups from all seven local schools, the Ulladulla Girl Guides, Ulladulla Sea Scouts and the Milton and Mollymook pony clubs taking part.

Watch the Milton march below:

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Comments
  1. guryel says:

    What a great job. Well don Guryel

  2. guryel says:

    What a great job. Well done Karisa
    Guryel

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