Remember them

Tim Costello reflects on his experience at Gallipoli, and remembers soldiers past and present while we hope for peace.

On the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918, the guns fell silent. After 20 million deaths and 21 million wounded, it was declared the war to end all wars. Never again. 

To that end the League of Nations was created but it failed. 21 years after that first Remembrance Day, the Second World War claimed 70-85 million lives. After it finished in 1945, the United Nations was created to prevent wars. 

But this Remembrance Day almost 80 years later, the bombs and guns are blazing again. The Israel-Gaza war enters its fifth week. How do we end wars and honour the purpose of Remembrance Day?  

Two months ago, my wife and I were leading a Christian tour group to Türkiye and had a day at Lone Pine Cemetery, Gallipoli. We stood reverently in the shade of the lone pine tree that stands there as a sentinel, surrounded by the graves of young Australian men. 

Members of our group shared about the intergenerational family trauma that was the legacy of grandparents who had fought in these hills and valleys. 

There were tears and hugs and then we sang together the chant “O Lord, remember them when you enter into your Kingdom.” That is remembrance. 

As are the ceremonies at shrines and war memorials around the nation where we honour the “mighty dead”, listen to the Last Post, and hear proclaimed: “At the going down of the sun, we will remember them.”  

But this Remembrance Day, I will pray for the families of the 1400 Israelis massacred by Hamas and the 10,000 Palestinians – 40% children – now killed. And the 88 UN officials killed in Gaza: the highest UN loss in a single conflict.  

War never achieves what we think it will. Jesus was right. Blessed are the peacemakers. 


A sombre spiritual journey from Anzac Cove to Calvary

Simon Smart on the story of sacrifice linking ANZAC Day and Easter.