Lest We Forget
It was just a little scrap of recent news; the history department complaining about the reduction in funding for that department but it made the news. Somebody thought it important and contacted the media, and somebody else thought it important enough to print the story, and in our ideologically driven institutes of learning, perhaps it is more important than the minimal attention it received from us.
Did you or would you have clicked into that link?
Then I saw this. I think I knew that we were involved in the Borneo and Malaysia conflicts – but really, I’m not sure because I can’t remember another single fact that would confirm this.
And then the bottom line, the all familiar phrase that gets dusted off each year when Anzac Day comes around.
“Lest we Forget.”
It’s a misunderstood saying. One that you can see many speakers including politicians take to mean, to remember what happened.
We’ve done that. There’s a memorial. We are not there to renew our dedication to the event or the day.
So what does it really mean?
It’s not so much a saying but a concept that goes hand in hand with the memorial and the memory.
It asks a question of each of us, in our contemporary environment can we explain the reason for this event. Can we take this memory and turn it into words so that the understanding is transmitted from generation to generation and never lost.
In in uttering this phrase “lest we forget” we are not offering up a self-serving emotional platitude that allows us to feel we have honoured those who made this sacrifice for us. Rather we are accepting the demand it places on us to be vigilant on every other day of the year in our ability to understand, to pass on, and to make good use of what is known.
The previous post is about our homeless men: Casualties of our country rather than for our country?
Are they a reminder to us, primarily, that we are not meeting our obligation to this concept? That while those at the coal face consider how best to help, the rest of us should be asking how did we end up here?
Looking back on the early records of our parliamentary debates and speeches, the sentiment I find embodied in our history is more along the lines of …
We know what we have escaped from and we have the greatest opportunity yet not to bring the same misfortune upon ourselves in this new land.