Editorial: Kids learn about those we must not forget

By Craig Cooper

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When we contemplate Anzac Day, we should also perhaps be contemplating how we ensure that the memories of war are passed on to our kids. Photo / John Stone
When we contemplate Anzac Day, we should also perhaps be contemplating how we ensure that the memories of war are passed on to our kids. Photo / John Stone

On Anzac Day we often reflect about our family members involved in fighting for their country.

Some may have been killed in action, some may have returned home.

They survived, often affected or damaged by the experience.

Those of us from generations whose parents, grandparents or relations fought in the war find it easier to contemplate the sacrifice our war women and men made.

Because for us, those people were real.

They may not have talked much about the war, their silence was often a mask hiding the atrocity of, in my family's case, World War II.

My children, who did not know their maternal grandparents, are a generation removed from the people who made the sacrifices that enables their present-day freedom.

So when we contemplate Anzac Day, we should also perhaps be contemplating how we ensure that the memories of war are passed on to our kids, so they never lose the appreciation of what their forebears fought for.

Schools are doing a great job in this respect - I don't know whether it is a formal part of the curriculum but it should be. In 2013, my son knew little about Anzac Day, and showed zero interest in attending a dawn parade.

Through his school, though, he learned about World War I and II, took part in a ceremony placing the memorial crosses in Whangarei's Laurie Hall park, and then asked to attend a dawn ceremony with his grandfather.

This week, as we sat on the couch together, watching Field Punishment No.1 - about World War I conscientious objectors - he related to me how he had learned about the programme's central character, Archibald Baxter, at school.

It was a case of the son teaching the father.

The memories of war - controversial as they may be - are alive and well in our youth and long may that continue.

- Northern Advocate

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