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ANZAC march: times are changing

ANZAC march: times are changing

Source: The Daily Telegraph

(Image is Kellie Dadds )

SERVICE women will march at the front, the number of serving military will be boosted and descendants of veterans will be asked to march at the back under sweeping changes to this year’s Anzac Day parade through Sydney. In an attempt to return the march to its roots as a salute to the men and women willing to sacrifice everything for their country, the RSL will also take a more active role in ensuring descendants are not confused with veterans. NSW RSL president James Brown, an army veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, said veterans must be given precedence. “In the past you’ve had people who have done multiple tours on ­behalf of this country marching ­behind someone in trackie daks with some medals they found the day ­before, and clearly that is not appropriate,” he said. “There is a place for family, but veterans march first.”

Women lead the shake-up at Anzac

The RSL also wants non-veterans wearing a friend or relative’s medals to display them on the right chest rather than the left so they are not confused with those who have served in the defence forces.

As a one-off, the march will be led by women from all eras and conflicts to recognise their contribution to the defence forces and to illustrate the changing face of Australian veterans. Women will also lead the ­parades in Perth and Melbourne.
“The ‘By The Left’ initiative is about telling the public that women do all the roles men do,” he said.

Many of the older women will be considered veterans for the first time after the official definition was widened last year beyond those that served overseas to any member of the defence forces who were honourably or medically discharged.
In another change, the contingent of serving military will increase. Mr Brown said: “There are thousands of Australians serving across the globe right now, and we wanted them to feel part of the parade.”
The RSL has been asking ­descendants to march at the rear for years, but will this year take a more active role in directing them to their designated place, both in the marshalling area and during the parade.
However, they will not force anyone to move and veterans will still be allowed to march with family.

The ‘By The Left’ initiative is about telling the public that women do all the roles men do.
If there was uncertainty about someone’s position they would be asked if they are marching with a veteran. “We will ask people who are not marching with a veteran where they would like to be and help them understand where the appropriate place for descendants is in the parade,” he said. “What we are trying to avoid is large groups of people who have never been in the military marching without a veteran.”
Gwen Cherne, a war widow whose children will spend their second Anzac Day without their father, said she did not mind where widows, ­descendants and legatees marched, as long as they had a place.
“My main concern is recognition,” she said. “I don’t think we should be up the front. As long as there is a place for us where we are acknowledged as having lost a husband, father, brother or uncle.”
Ken Foster from the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia was happy for women to march at the front and descendants at the back so long as veterans were able to march with family if they chose: “I can understand the RSL wants veterans to be identified as veterans and not be confused about whether they are family or descendants.”

STRANGERS often approach Kellie Dadds on Anzac Day to correct 
her mistake.
“Only military veterans wear their medals on the left chest,” they say. “When you wear your grandfather’s medals, you should wear them on the right.”
They mean well. After all, Ms Dadds doesn’t look like a typical war veteran — she’s neither old nor male. But after 22 years in the army, many of them in Afghanistan and Iraq, she has earned the right to wear her medals on the left.
“I know of hundreds of women that’s happened to, if not thousands, in all honesty,” said Ms Dadds, a 40-year-old mother of three and a major until she left the army last month and who represents the next generation of war veterans.
“I have a mate who, at every service for 20 years, has been informed that she is wearing her medals on the wrong side.”

In a one-off change this year, women from all eras and services will lead the parade to bring women to the forefront 
of a commemoration from which many have felt excluded.
“We have women returning from multiple deployments and they do have a lot of medals to wear and we should respect them as much as we do the old fellows,” RSL state councillor Sandra Lambkin said. “Veterans do come in all shapes and sizes and ages.”
Ms Dadds said this year’s march was also an opportunity to honour women who served in past conflicts but were not allowed to deploy overseas. Many felt their domestic wartime service was second-rate, so they did not join the march.
“Of the women who served before 1983, very few were allowed to deploy,” she said. “And if you were married or pregnant, the policy was that you had to discharge.
“So there are many out there who feel they were not allowed to march on Anzac Day. They didn’t feel worthy because they weren’t returned veterans.”
A veteran has previously been defined as someone who returned from overseas service. This definition excluded the many women who were not allowed to serve overseas but still made significant sacrifices for their country.

But a meeting of Australian veterans’ affairs ministers last year decided to change the official definition to include anyone who has served in the Australian Defence Forces and been honourably or medically discharged, thereby dramatically increasing the number of female veterans.
“There are some people who don’t get the call up (for overseas service) throughout their career, and that is no fault of their own,” Ms Dadds said.
“It comes down to what the government’s commitments are.
“By no means does that mean their service is not as highly valued.”
Ms Lambkin was a truck driver in the Royal Australian Women’s Naval Service between 1968 and 1971 when women worked at the naval bases to free up more men to fight in Vietnam.
“We weren’t allowed overseas, we were completely land bound,” she said.
When she joined the RSL, she was given a different badge — she was a service member, not a returned service member — and she has never considered herself a war veteran. “I can’t possibly know what they’ve experienced on the front line,” she said. But she is passionate about ensuring today’s female veterans are recognised.
“It’s a way for us older women to honour young veterans, but also show there is still that sisterhood,” she said.
MARCHING ORDER

The order of procession for this year’s Anzac Day march:
■ The Governor of NSW, David Hurley (who will then double back and march with fellow Somalia veterans on their 25th anniversary)
■ Female veterans
■ RSL state council
■ Serving navy, army and RAAF
■ Invictus team (ahead of the Invictus Games in October)
■ World War II veterans
■ Police, fire and rescue
■ Post World War II army led by veterans from Operation Solace, the UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia (25th anniversary)
■ Korean War veterans
■ Vietnam War veterans
■ Special forces
■ Groups such as chaplains, medical, catering and nursing
■ UN and Peacekeeping
■ Red Cross
■ Legacy
■ War Widows Guild
■ Descendants of veterans
■ British and Commonwealth veterans
■ Allied veterans

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Penguinite 15/04/2018, 6:57 am

    They mean well but too much organisation will doubtless negatively affect the Parade. By the time the the Parade is halfway through some of the older participants will be tired and the viewers will to.

  • luk1955 15/04/2018, 7:39 am

    The RSL has been politicised and is no longer an association that represents true veterans. Note how a criminal masquerading as a politician is leading the march. I’ll be staying home this year. And how do police, fire, and rescue get in there when they stay home and illegally tax the citizens? What a rort!

  • Ian 15/04/2018, 7:57 am

    The dock workers get to walk too. And the CFMEU, or is that only happening in Victoriastan?

    • Penguinite 15/04/2018, 10:23 am

      Any NON ANZAC flags should be jeered! Especially the CMFEU as their forebears attempted to bushwack the war effort by sabotaging troop supplies!

      • Neville 15/04/2018, 12:35 pm

        YES!

      • Joe Blogs 15/04/2018, 1:24 pm

        Those scum are anti-Anzac traitors. Farkin’ farce.

  • DT 15/04/2018, 8:13 am

    The besieged New South Wales branch of the RSL has a new president after Malcolm Turnbull’s son-in-law, James Brown, was elected to replace John Haines.

    Today’s election came after months of allegations of financial misconduct at the top of the organisation.

    Mr Brown, 36, is an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran.
    ABC

  • TommyGun 15/04/2018, 8:30 am

    I reckon all this is BS.
    Marchers should be confined to those who saw action.
    No one else.

    So some woman drove a bloody truck at a naval base. Now she wants to march as a “Veteran”? FFS.

    I’ve got nothing against women marching who saw action or nursed in conflict areas.

    • sniperbait 15/04/2018, 3:22 pm

      Yeah Tommy Gun. I’ll march at the rear as I only did 2 Peacekeeping tours and only got 2 clasps for my ASM. By government definition I’m not a veteran. Perhaps I should stand off to the side and cheer on all the rear esh guys and gals of the catering corp or pay corp that slept in the guarded compounds. I know the shit I saw (murders, exhumations and victim’s blood on my clothing as they died) and still recall doesn’t count for much.

  • Joe Blogs 15/04/2018, 9:34 am

    Even Bruce Ruxton would refuse to participate in that crap.

  • crankykoala 15/04/2018, 9:38 am

    RSL — Returned and Services League. On ANZAC DAY the emphasis must be placed on RETURNED, and only those, male or female, who have served in an overseas (or northern Australia and Sydney under japanese attack) war zone should be entitled to march. Of course, family/friends of those that paid the ultimate sacrifice should also march and be appropriately placed within the parade.

  • Joe Blogs 15/04/2018, 10:12 am

    Mr Brown – a millennial – is too green to realise that that “fairness”, “inclusiveness”, “equality”, etc, are actually the tools of PC iconoclasm that tear down the institutions for which actual veterans fought to preserve.

    What next: pink pussy hats?

    The event used to be a “veterans’ commemorative march”. Now it’s more a Walter & Wanda Mitty fantasy parade. It’s a bit like “Fantasy Island”: you get off the plane and pretend for the day that you were a war fighter. Then, after a day of PC “inclusiveness”, you go home actually believing you are one. Beats dodging bullets.

  • Biking Voter 15/04/2018, 11:30 am

    Why are police, fire and rescue even allowed to march under their own banner? Sure allow them to march if they served in the ADF, but then they march with whatever branch of the ADF they served in.

    Bus drivers and train drivers wear uniforms too, so why not allow them to march next to the police, fire and rescue. There are possibly some elevator operators out there somewhere that still wear a uniform, let them march too.

    • Joe Blogs 15/04/2018, 12:27 pm

      Some blokes look forward all year to catching up with their far-flung mates to march (it’s not – or wasn’t – a “parade”) under their unit’s banner and in so doing, remember the fallen and, importantly, to revitalise the history traditions, experiences and esprit-de-corps to which they all contributed in adversity.

      It looks as though some people don’t comprehend, let alone appreciate, any of that. Maybe it’s because they’ve since found that making a PC statement is a higher calling than unit camaraderie – or maybe because were never a “heart, soul and arsehole” part of the unit in the first place.

  • Gavin O'Brien 15/04/2018, 12:41 pm

    As a Vietnam veteran I marched in Canberra from 1983 but not this year. Political correctness has reached absurd levels, with family members of veterans who are, KIA, now deceased or not able to march, banned and children who used to carry banner etc also banned. I served with nursing sisters who were with us at 1st Aus. Fd. Hosp. in Vung Tau. They should NOT be subjected to ill informed comment as to whether they are entitled to wear their campaign medals on the left.
    Please remember that war is horrific to those who went, do not glorify it, just remember those who paid or are paying the supreme sacrifice for their service.

    • MM. Ed. 15/04/2018, 1:16 pm

      Spot on Gavin. I have not attended or marched since my father died 10 years ago (RAAF) over NG. My Grandfather AIF Western Front avoided such things also (TPI). He said I would give it away one day and I did. Rude idiots decided that for me. Anzac Day and November 11 are days I have trouble with. I now prefer to be on my own in quiet and mostly emotional reflection. Those are the only times I allow flashbacks. It’s better that way. I know many that do the same!

    • Joe Blogs 15/04/2018, 1:58 pm

      Gavin
      That statement about L or R breast (it’s “breast”, not not “chest”, Kellie) implies that older vets don’t know one genre of gongs from another and that they don’t know that since WW1 at least, some women have been genuine veterans. Maybe it’s true, but dunno that it’s as widespread as implied. Just sayin’.

      Both
      I’ve never marched and never will (just not my caper and prefer to be alone too), but for 10-odd years pushed rellos’ wheelchairs to Anzac Day gigs and (reluctantly) MCd a couple of services. Don’t watch marches on telly, but there are always newspaper items the next day, as often as not (or so it seems) featuring fake veterans.

      My main concern is the tinkering with institutions like Anzac Day events, which seem to be descending into jingoistic, PC, me-too circuses that are devoid of the principle of “earning the right”. Looks as though Anzac Day events – as distinct from the solemnity of the memorial per se – are just following suit with the rest of society and are losing their true and tragic prestige and essence.

      If that’s progressive progress, leave Blogs out.

    • Albert 15/04/2018, 2:44 pm

      Well said Gavin. Like MM editor, and I suspect many others, I have not marched for a number of years. I became disillusioned with the RSL a number of years ago and the distasteful meddling with this years marches would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetically unnecessary and I believe intended to pander to political correctness.

      The intended inclusion of the unions, so far only flagged for Victoria, is a travesty. The unions are the absolute treasonous bastards who worked against our war efforts and the welfare of our fighting men when they sided with their communist mates during two world wars and Vietnam to disrupt our waterfront.

      • Joe Blogs 15/04/2018, 4:12 pm

        Korea too.

    • Biking Voter 15/04/2018, 6:50 pm

      I’ve never bothered marching (did enough of that when I was in) my medals are still in the boxes they came in laying a drawer.

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