In tumultuous times, like those we are living through, it is crucial that we give recognition, whether here on the Mid North Coast or right around the country, to the things that unite us rather than those that divide us.
We are within weeks of a very special anniversary of one of the most potent unifying dates on our calendar. November 11, 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1.
The scale of sacrifice by Australians between August 1914 and November 1918, was astounding: over 60,000 dead and hundreds of thousands wounded. Almost 400,000 from a country of barely five million served. Few families of the era were not impacted.
Those awful facts alone deserve our unified attention and respect. But this anniversary has, over the years, become much more than a day of remembrance largely recognised by descendants of the mostly Anglo-Saxon families who had forebears that fought in World War 1.
What was once known as Armistice Day was long ago renamed Remembrance Day, with its meaning broadened to acknowledge the service of all men and women who have ever worn the uniform.
It is relevant to all Australians whatever their heritage. How long they have been Australian is irrelevant.
What we are preparing to acknowledge on November 11, is sacrifice and the preparedness to sacrifice, of all generations of Australians, past present – and future.
The government has begun to promote strong engagement in Remembrance Day this year in recognition of the special significance of the centenary.
There is no doubt that a centenary is a milestone but it is important to recognise that what we are acknowledging, every Remembrance Day, is the sacrifice, and the ongoing preparedness to sacrifice, of Australians of all generations.
That deserves to be a unifying event every November 11, with abiding power to put the problems of today, or any other day, into perspective.