Remembrance Day’s hidden value
Since the end of the First World War, across the Commonwealth we’ve paused to reflect and pay our respects to those who have fallen in war. Many gather to do so, and this act alone brings us together in a united purpose. The value of coming together to collectively remember is often overshadowed by our collective point of focus on those who rightly deserve it; those who lost their lives for our freedom.
I’d like to shine a light on the mood and feeling we generate when we collectively pause. I like to think about and understand what we create when we gather to stop and reflect on something we believe in. I personally sense a collective respect and deep cohesion of enormous value, which reminds me of how important respect and societal cohesion is in our daily lives.
By contrast, and particularly as an Army Reservist and Unit commander, for me there’s nothing more concerning than the lack of respect in all its forms and how damaging this can be to a team.
Remarkably, even amongst those who you’d normally view as having much in common, often in the heat of the moment respect can be briefly set aside or temporarily undervalued for what is perceived to be more important. Perhaps it’s just getting the job done to a short deadline no matter the cost to the individuals in the team.
When lack of respect to each other and the team surface it is obvious. It’s damaging. It reduces a team to a collection of individuals. Whilst the resulting sentiment can be fleeting, its effects are seemingly perpetuant and cumulative.
Activities like Remembrance Day are remarkable because in a very powerful way, and with little effort, they re-focus participants on what is truly significant, and more importantly, what is common. Respect for those who have died in the service of others.
Remembrance Day reminds me that refocusing on what we collectively and deeply value feeds respect and cohesion, regardless of our past carelessness or present day differences.
Remembrance Day has a value that reaches beyond our display of respect. It allows us to re-connect and feed the societal cohesion we all ultimately enjoy and cherish.
At 11am on 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years continuous warfare. The allied armies had driven the German invaders back, having inflicted heavy defeats upon them over the preceding four months. For the first time in November 1919, prompted by a suggestion from an Australian journalist, Edward Honey who was working in Fleet Street, two minutes silence was kept as part of the commemorative service held at the new Cenotaph in London.
Today, at 11 am when you pause and remember the men and women who have served Australia in many conflicts, take a minute more to remember and support our wounded Australians as they adjust to the often difficult task of coming home.