Councillor’s Comment: Why do we commemorate war?06/05/2022 12:26pm
Commemorating war is about showing our respect. Taking a moment out of our busy lives to pause and reflect on the sacrifices given by past and current generations, writes Nelson City Councillor Judene Edgar.
Why do we commemorate war? Why do we choose to remind ourselves so regularly and so publicly of its costs?
Commemorating war is about showing our respect. Taking a moment out of our busy lives to pause and reflect on the sacrifices given by past and current generations.
For ANZAC Day, there are at least 59,000 reasons for our commemoration – 18,000 who died and a further 41,000 who were wounded. There were also those left behind, the women and children, those too old, and those who contributed to the war efforts in other ways.
But times of remembrance shouldn’t be limited to the 25th of April or the 11th of November. History shouldn’t be relegated to statues and memorial days – it needs to be remembered, honoured, respected, and learned. And we need to learn from it, not just about it.
Ultimately history is about people – why certain decisions were made, why people supported a certain direction, and why things happened.
This year, I was heartened to see that ANZAC Day has become a multi-generational event, an opportunity for our younger people to learn about the past and the activities of their forebears.
As the saying goes, “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.
By understanding the why, we can become better informed and more understanding and empathetic citizens, and being informed is a key element in maintaining a democratic society.