Damian Light: What does it mean to you to celebrate / commemorate ANZAC day?

This ANZAC Day in particular is special (being 100 years) and it’s heartening to see that most of NZ and Australia are rising to the occasion.

ANZAC has a very personal meaning to me – my grant grandfather fought in WWI. He was an engineer for the NZ Army before the war and served in 5th Battery and Brigade. and fought through Gallipoli, Egypt, Belgium and Somme until he was severely injured (losing his eye to shrapnel). He met his wife while recovering in England, so in more ways than one I owe my life to his service. When WWII broke out he signed up again, but due to his injury he was assigned to the home guard. I don’t remember a lot about my great grandfather (he sadly died when I was very young), other than he was very gentle. We knew him as Pop and he was loved by his family, his many grandchildren and even larger number of great grandchildren.

It’s very easy to mistake commemoration of the past service as celebrating or glorifying war, but it isn’t. It’s about recognising the sacrifices they made and being aware of the real costs. I don’t want the focus to shift to far from ANZAC, but I will say that knowing how much my great grandfather (and grandfather) gave up to serve their country always make me wary of war without just cause.

– Damian Light, United Future