Today is ANZAC day in Australia, which marks the anniversary of the first campaign that led to significant casualties for Australian and New Zealand forces during WWI and commemorates all the wars that followed.
I was out with my son this morning before the town had woken up. The fountains were off, the escalators were quiet, and a couple of surfers were out on a dawn patrol. Early mornings are the best times with young kids because there is space to play on the benches, little walls, and small grassy knolls. The parks are all closed because of the lockdowns, so we make the best of our urban environment.
There is a war memorial near our house, and as I walked past it with my son that morning, I noticed an old man standing alone and facing the monument. He was wearing an ill-fitting suit with more than a few medals on his jacket. He was standing at attention and saluting. After a while, he turned around and marched away. There was no ceremony, no band, no politicians jumping on the bandwagon, none of the “thank you for your service” crowd in their gas-guzzling SUVs. There was just an old military man paying his respects to the fallen. He was doing it for himself and for the ones who never came home.
It was a reminder to me that we humans are enigmas. Capable of so much cruelty and evil, but also so full of love and goodness. Maybe the next wars aren’t between humans anymore, perhaps it’s between us and this virus, and the next one after this one.