Stevie Pocock's entry

Anzac Spirit in the 21st Century

By Stevie Pocock

The Anzac Spirit in the 21st Century is no longer a personal quality, but the well-known, inherent essence of Australians. Borne on the shore of Gallipoli almost 100 years ago, the Anzac spirit is a spirit of determination, a strong sense of courage and mateship, and a determined force fighting for justice and fairness. Today the Anzac Spirit is kept alive by the laws, values and social ideals of Australian society, by volunteers and the public in times of hardship and the current Australian Defence Force. The legacy left by the original Anzac soldiers is the spirit that beats in every Australian heart and the spirit reflected in our actions every day.

Our current laws and values reflect the Anzac Spirit, a term used to describe the determination of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in Gallipoli. Originating from the open Australian and New Zealand lifestyle, the Anzac spirit rose from the determination to fight despite the odds, the loyalty to mates, family and country and the will to push hard for justice, freedom, liberty and security. The Anzac Spirit was often characterised by '... comradeship, courage and sacrifice: others before self ..."1, as well as laughter, love of life, bold and brave actions in combat, and fearless and independent willingness to help those in need'2. In the 21st Century our laws, values and ideals reflect the Anzac spirit in every corner of Australia. Australian values include respect of individual freedom and dignity, religious freedom, a commitment to law, democracy, individual equality regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or gender, and a spirit of respect, tolerance, fairness, and compassion'3. The Anzac spirit - once used only to describe the courage and fearlessness of Anzac soldiers at Gallipoli is now inherent to every Australian man, woman and child.

The Anzac spirit is most apparent during times of hardship and crisis in the 21st century. The South Australian bushfires and Queensland floods brought everyone from across the country together to help in any way possible. More than 1600 Red Cross Volunteers and staff from around Australia responded immediately, providing food and water riot only to those affected directly but to those fighting fires and manning rescues4. Every Australian citizen selflessly volunteered something; donations of money, food, shelter, medical aid, evacuations, bedding and more. In a time of hardship much closer to home for my family, our neighbours pitched in and helped us out; we were out when a bushfire tore through our property. After receiving a call from our neighbour, we raced home, fearing that the bushfire had already taken our property, our home. When we arrived, not the house, garden or shed had been touched - our neighbours had fought selflessly to save our property without question. That, to me, demonstrates the courage, loyalty and sacrifice that still exists from the Anzac spirit of 1915. The intangible spirit of Anzac clearly lives on in times of hardship and crisis throughout the nation and in the heart of every Australian who is willing to make sacrifices for the benefit and to help others.

The Australian Defence Force demonstrates the spirit of Anzac in their actions and their values representing the resilience and camaraderie that makes us uniquely Australian and Anzac. Values of the Australian Defence Force include courage, initiative, fairness and loyalty to mates, the will to win, dedication, sense of honour and duty, as well as the innate sense of standing up for those who need help5. The similarities between our current values and the traits, the essence of the Anzac spirit, are inescapable. Our Australian Defence Force has fought for peace for all, not just Australia; the Anzac notion of sacrificing for others and helping your mates get back on their feet. In Afghanistan today, our soldiers keep the Anzac values and spirit alive by fighting for justice and truth and fairness. In World War II, Vietnam, Korea - the list goes on. The Australian Defence Force has a history of fighting for the underdog, of a will to win, survive and maintain peace and security across the globe and it is the Anzac spirit that guides them.

In many ways, the Anzac spirit has, rather than become a thing of the past, grown to become that innate sense of justice, right and wrong and fairness. It has become the fighting spirit in each and every Australian; to keep pushing, to overcome any obstacle and to not go down without a fight. This is the Anzac spirit of the 21st Century; this is how the sacrifice and hardship of the original Anzacs is carried on. The Anzac spirit may have started far from Australian shores with the fiery passion and determination of men long gone today, but the memory, the values and the spirit of the Anzacs will not be lost.

1 Burke, A, 2014, The Spirit of Anzac. Accessed June 20, 201.4, from https://anzacday.org.au/spirit-of-anzac
2 Ibid
3 Fact Sheet 7 - Life in Australia: Australian Values, Australian Government, 201.1. Accessed June 24, 2014, from https://www.border.gov.au/about/corporate/information/fact-sheets/07values
4 Victorian bushfires 2009 - 5 years, on Australian Red Cross. Accessed June 24, 2014, from http://www.redcross.org.au/victorian-bushfires-2009.aspx
5 Army Traditions, Australian Defence Force. Accessed June 24, 2014, from http://www.defencejobs.gov.au/army/about-the-army/army-traditions

Bibliography

  1. Army Traditions, Australian Defence Force. Accessed June 24, 2014, from http://www.defencejobs.gov.au/army/about-the-army/army-traditions
  2. Burke, A, 2014, The Spirit of Anzac. Accessed June 20, 201.4, from https://anzacday.org.au/spirit-of-anzac
  3. Fact Sheet 7 - Life in Australia: Australian Values, Australian Government, 201.1. Accessed June 24, 2014, from https://www.border.gov.au/about/corporate/information/fact-sheets/07values
  4. Victorian bushfires 2009 - 5 years, on Australian Red Cross. Accessed June 24, 2014, from http://www.redcross.org.au/victorian-bushfires-2009.aspx

Last updated: 14 July 2017