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More ceremony for the temple of the death cult

By johnboy - 17 April 2013 92

war memorial

The ABC reports on ever more elaborate rites being laid on at the War Memorial.

Speaking as someone who used to go to the dawn service back when it fitted inside the memorial* I’m increasingly disturbed by the trend this is part of.

The national anthem will be played, the public will be able to lay wreaths and a uniformed member of the defence force will read a short account of the life of one of the people on the memorial’s Roll of Honour.

The daily ceremony will end with the playing of the last post and it will also be streamed on the internet.

The Memorial’s director Brendan Nelson says he felt a more meaningful closing ceremony was needed.

It started under the Howard Government, the ever increasing fetishism of Anzac as the last veterans who could have told them off finally disappeared.

Conservatives have always liked the authoritarian nature of Christianity, but it’s imperfect for them.

That hippy preaching love, forgiveness and running the bankers out of the temple? Troubling.

Whereas a militaristic death cult immortalising the sacrifice of the young for the maintenance of the old men’s position of power?

Wrap it in a flag, play the last post, and bow your head as you walk past their name etched in bronze?

That’s more like it isn’t it?

* The author comes from multi-generational service family and is all in favour of remembering the fallen. But all things should be in moderation.


UPDATE: The memorial’s media release is available in full.

What’s Your opinion?


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92 Responses to
More ceremony for the temple of the death cult
31
johnboy 6:06 pm
17 Apr 13
#

I am all for the acknowledgment of this country’s war dead.

However I think it is now fast moving beyond the historical levels of recognition afforded even by those who survived the conflicts we’re now trying to glorify.

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32
Thumper 6:19 pm
17 Apr 13
#

no idea said :

I am not sure what JB hates. is it the War Memorial, the ADF , Servicemen/ women who have died, people who are proud of their families for having served? It is sad that some people seem to enjoy taking something that is important to other people and deciding they have a right to disrespect that belief. The closing ceremony seems a tad out of step with the local expectations but please don’t forget the AWM attracts a lot of foreign visitors who only see this place once, so the closing ceremony may be special to them , maybe look at the big picture and stop your personal bias from creeping into your reporting.

I’m an ex-serviceman and I’d call JB a friend. I really doubt that he has any problem with service personel. We may not see eye to eye on every issue and on this one I think he may have gone over the top by describing it as a death cult.

However, he does have a point.

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33
c_c™ 6:21 pm
17 Apr 13
#

johnboy said :

I am all for the acknowledgment of this country’s war dead.

However I think it is now fast moving beyond the historical levels of recognition afforded even by those who survived the conflicts we’re now trying to glorify.

+1

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34
farnarkler 6:23 pm
17 Apr 13
#

Have any of you ever been to the last post ceremony at Ypres? I’ve been a dozen or so times as a tour manager. The authorities give the opportunity for a group, usually a scout or school group from the UK to ‘host’ the ceremony. A lectern is set up and a speech is made and a wreath or two laid. Fair enough the streaming over the internet is perhaps over the top but a small ceremony that might give children some opportunity to get involved surely isn’t a bad thing?

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35
VeryMildSuperPowers 6:32 pm
17 Apr 13
#

I don’t have much to add to the conversation, other than the fact I agree with what Johnboy is saying – and I’m ex-Army (1989 – 1995).

These developments are starting to stink like a Nuremberg rally.

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36
no idea 7:41 pm
17 Apr 13
#

We’re doing it for foreign visitors now?

They’re a factor ,I think you will find a fair percentage of visitors to the AWM are from overseas. The AWM is also a tourist attraction as well as a memorial, just saying

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37
Adstar 9:25 pm
17 Apr 13
#

Completely disagree that the AWM is “the temple of the death cult”.

I am another from a multi-generational service family and I respect JB’s right to say what he thinks. I personally find it offensive but that’s ok.

I applaud the changes Brendan Nelson is making. I think it is good that the Ode will continue to be read each evening and that a fallen soldier, sailor or airman will have their story told by a serving member. This does not celebrate, glorify or worship them – rather it allows members of the community to learn a little about someone who has sacrificed everything.

In the last ten years, I have personally been to the funerals or ramp ceremonies for 15 of our fallen, several of whom I consider friends. I hope that, 30, 40 or 100 years hence, people who have never experienced war (wishful thinking), will be able to reflect on the sacrifice these people have made, in a fitting manner, and learn a little about each individual.

A

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38
what_the 11:48 pm
17 Apr 13
#

poetix said :

Grimm said :

…You need an uppercut.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

In the context, this little almost-threat to the writer is quite funny.

Blessed are the cheesemakers?

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39
Mysteryman 6:59 am
18 Apr 13
#

p1 said :

Grimm said :

Calling the ADF a “death cult” is just pathetic.

While JB’s intentionally confrontational title irks me slightly, I find your post irritates and offends me more? Perhaps it is because you don’t seem to understand his post?

BTW, I also come from a multi generational service family. Seems many of us do.

“Death cult”, “fetishism of ANZAC”? All from laying wreaths and reading a short account of someone’s life? Get real.

I think the new arrangements are a little over the top, but save the hyperbole for something that deserves it.

I’ve seen some garbage on RA over the years but this is right up there.

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40
dpm 7:40 am
18 Apr 13
#

Jim Jones said :

It’s also particularly stupid that people feel that they have to preface statements on this sort of thing by listing their family’s involvement with the armed forces. That doesn’t sound like much of a ringing endorsement of ‘our way of life’ and ‘our freedoms’ if people’s opinions on any matter are validated by their closeness to the armed forces … (actually, that sounds a lot closer to the plot of Heinlein’s fascist state in Starship Troopers).

Was this directed at JB? He was the first to mention family involvement?

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41
BimboGeek 9:02 am
18 Apr 13
#

If we’re on Heinlein can we just agree that the religion from Stranger in a Strange Land is pretty cool?

This argument is futile because it’s people who believe the current tradition is disrespectful vs people who think changing the tradition is disrespectful. Gah!

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42
Jim Jones 9:36 am
18 Apr 13
#

BimboGeek said :

If we’re on Heinlein can we just agree that the religion from Stranger in a Strange Land is pretty cool?

Definitely!

BimboGeek said :

This argument is futile because it’s people who believe the current tradition is disrespectful vs people who think changing the tradition is disrespectful. Gah!

I think that’s a bit of an over-simplification.

As far as I’m aware, it’s not “people who believe the current tradition is disrespectful vs people who think changing the tradition is disrespectful”. I don’t think that anyone is arguing that a day of remembrance and contemplation for people who’ve served in the armed forces (both living and dead) is a bad thing (and that’s pretty much what ANZAC day has become, the sole focus on Gallipoli has broadened into a day with a much wider significance). The argument seems to centre on what sort of form this remembrance takes.

On one extreme there are those who follow the impulse to deify the war dead and surround the day with joingism and nationalism, which many (including myself) find dangerous and unwarranted.

On the other extreme there are people who wish us to reflect upon the pointlessness and destructive nature of war, which others find disrespectful to the war dead.

I find myself somewhat in the middle. The whole ‘they sacrificed their lives for our liberty’ thing is complete and utter bullsh1t, and you’d have to be seriously deluded to take that sort of rhetoric seriously. Anyone with even the most tenuous understanding of Australian history understands this.

But the idea of a day of reflection upon what happened in wartime, and the experiences of the people involved, has the possibility to be a great thing. There’s no reason why the experiences of soldiers and the rest of the armed services shouldn’t be respectfully remembered and validated. But there should be no need to resorting to lies and propaganda in order to try and do this.

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43
Jim Jones 9:47 am
18 Apr 13
#

Mysteryman said :

p1 said :

Grimm said :

Calling the ADF a “death cult” is just pathetic.

While JB’s intentionally confrontational title irks me slightly, I find your post irritates and offends me more? Perhaps it is because you don’t seem to understand his post?

BTW, I also come from a multi generational service family. Seems many of us do.

“Death cult”, “fetishism of ANZAC”? All from laying wreaths and reading a short account of someone’s life? Get real.

I think the new arrangements are a little over the top, but save the hyperbole for something that deserves it.

I’ve seen some garbage on RA over the years but this is right up there.

And there’s the Liberal Party view for us all to ponder. “Nothing to see here, move along. Don’t question the established order.”

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44
Barcham 10:45 am
18 Apr 13
#

Is everyone here related to someone who has served? What a coincidence!

We should all hang out and be friends. :)

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45
Grimm 10:50 am
18 Apr 13
#

Jim Jones said :

WWI had precisely fe^k-all to do with ‘freedom’ and ‘our glorious way of life’ and all that rot.

WWII perhaps, but not WWI, and certainly not Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

Who the hell said anything about ‘freedom’ or any of the other nonsense? During both WWI and WWII, a lot of young men gave their lives for their country. Had it not been for those men, the world would be a very different place, and it’s quite possible we would all be speaking German and goose stepping these days.

And what the hell do you expect when some little left wing peanut posts this kind of s***, when people who have served, seen conflict and seen mates die read it? I’m one of them, and I find it offensive when some little d***head calls the War Memorial the “temple of the death cult”, basically s***ting on the defence force and the memory of our fallen soldiers, and then tries to tell us how we should observe ANZAC day. It’s not as if we are having an old Soviet style Military parade, or celebrating war.

[ED – Last warning on foul language. Last warning on personal abuse]

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