That first Anzac Day in 1915, Australians fought alongside New Zealanders and the British across a peninsula called Gallipoli thrust at the heart of the Ottoman Empire in World War 1. It was a good strategy with a sound purpose. But political incompetence turned it into a disaster.

Anzac Day 1941, Australians fought alongside Indians and the British at a Libyan port called Tobruk where by miracle they held up Rommel’s German Afrika Korps on its way to Egypt and the Suez Canal. Their actions set the stage for Nazi Germany’s first defeat in World War 2. But political incompetence saw that sacrifice paid in vain.

Anzac Day 1942, Australians did not yet know it, but just months away they would fight alongside Indians, New Zealanders, South Africans and the British and a railway hub called El Alamein in Egypt, in a battle that would finally see the German North African advance thwarted and the turning point of WW2 arrive. But political incompetence brought an unprepared USA into the European War—and though it helped eradicate the Afrika Korps—it next ventured into a campaign in Italy that would morph into the most heartbreaking slog the Western Allies would endure.

Today is Anzac Day 2021. And the war against Covid-19 rages on without victory in sight. Political incompetence has ensured that counties no longer fight together to defeat their common foe. The combatants of Gallipoli, Tobruk and El Alamein now fight alone.

Today we proclaim, “Lest we forget,” those sacrifices made in 1915 and in all wars that have followed since.

I dare say with India in turmoil, Britain in denial, the USA trying to remember what decency is, and Australia no longer willing to make plans for its survival, time has taken its toll.

Words are now politics. Leadership has abandoned all.

The sun went down last night and we’d indeed forgotten.

© 2021 Adam Parker.

Picture credits: Dolan, H. and Gardiner, M. (2014) Gallipoli: The Landing. Sydney, NewSouth Books. (Author’s copy.)

Sagona, A. et al. Editors. (2016) Anzac Battlefield: A Gallipoli Landscape of War and Memory. London, Cambridge University Press. (Author’s copy.)