For so many people ANZAC Day is a day to give thanks, a day to remember, and a day to solemnly reflect. For me it is all of those things and it is so much more. I know so many people who wake before dawn to attend dawn services and people who devote their whole day going to the march through town. That makes me feel so proud to be an Australian.

For many years I have gone to services and marches, I have paid my respects and cried tears of real sorrow as they played the Last Post. Nearly every person in Australia has been personally affected by loss from the many wars Australia has fought in.

I have had family fight in the Wars, I know a victim of the Nazi concentration camps, I had a dear friend commit suicide after completing his tour in Iraq. I know people who have lived with the effects of post traumatic stress syndrome as a result of the atrocities they saw in Vietnam. I had a friend pass away recently who fought in two tours of Vietnam and lived out the rest of his days battling the images in his mind. I have friends who are currently serving in the Army and the Navy.

To all of you, I say THANK YOU, thank you for your courage, your sacrifice, your fearless determination and for laying your life on the line so that I have the privilege to live in a country where I am free to speak my mind, to take my child out into a safe environment where there are no bombs being dropped or war being waged on our soil. I thank you for giving yourself mind, body and soul for a country that at times was very lack lustre in their thanks.

Today is a day to say thank you, it is not a day to air grievances. I am saddened that today of all days politicians have taken the opportunity to speak their mind about irrelevant topics and tie it into ANZAC Day. I have heard politicians use today to speak about issues like Gay Marriage and Islam and many other things and is if that wasnt bad enough they have used today to say that the ANZACS didnt fight wars to afford people the right to gay marriage. To them I say ……What does any of that have to do with ANZAC Day ?

ANZACS didn’t fight conditionally, they did not pick and choose what freedoms they fought for. The outcome of their fighting and the giving of their lives was they we have the freedom to speak our minds. That doesn’t mean we should abuse that freedom. It is a great disrespect to assume you know why anyone fights for their country. Right now Australia has gay men and women fighting in our military, are they not ANZACS ? Do they not fight for freedom ? Should they fight conditionally for what some archaic polly thinks is right ? No they fight for freedom from persecution, and not just for us but for people around the world to enjoy the same freedom that we are so blessed to enjoy.

Today is a day to reflect, a day to solemnly remember those who went before us, it is not a day to pick and choose which minority you will beat up today. You should be ashamed of yourselves! ANZAC day is not here for you to beat your political drum and to get on your soapbox.

My Grandfather fought in WW2 and I can garuntee that he did not go forth in battle thinking about which particular rights he was fighting for that day. I dont believe that soldiers who fought in Vietnam chose which issues they fought for. No they went fearlessly and tirelessly into battle day after day so that we had the right to choose what was right, so we had a voice and so that the people they were fighting for had those same rights.

Every time you get on your soapbox and say the first inane thing that comes to your mind you disrespect the memory of those soldiers. To take the life of someone who died for their country and trivialize it is sacrilegious and disgraceful. YOU make me ashamed to be Australian. I am proud to share my country with a diverse mix of people. Black, White, Pink, Purple, Gay , Straight, Transgender, Bi sexual, Punk, Emo, Goth, Jock, Nerds……I embrace you all.

ANZACS I am proud to be Australian, I am proud that we live in a country that believes in multi culturalism and freedom for all, even if there is a few bigots among us who think otherwise ! Politicians need to think before they speak! The next time you stand up and fly off the handle with the first ignorant thought that comes into you pea brain spare a thought for the soldiers that died so you could abuse the freedom of speech.

I am proud to have a multicultural family, I am proud to have friends who are gay,lesbian,transgender,friends from different races and different religions. I am proud that I live in a country that affords us all those opportunities. You should be proud too! Everyone deserves their freedom, freedom to choose their religion, who they marry and what they do with their lives. Its just a pity that there are still narrow-minded politicians that don’t see it that way.

So today not only do I thank the ANZACS for the wars they fought on battlefields, today I say thank you for the battles you fought that gave us freedom beyond anything you could have ever expected ! You are heroes!