The Anzac spirit is a term, nowadays, which is open to many interpretations. It takes in all aspects of what the soldiers were described as at the battle of Gallipoli; their will to fight for their family, friends, their country and especially; themselves. The Anzacs accepted their fellow comrades as more than just other soldiers but as mates; this describes little to what the spirit is. The spirit really did linger after the war and still does today, in our homes, schools, on the sports field, all over our country.
It wasn't just soldiers that kept the spirit, Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean, the official war historian who travelled and experienced what the Anzacs went through, braved enemy gunfire, bombs and enemy raids to record anything and everything he heard and saw during his time with them. His definition of the spirit was: "Stood and still stand for reckless valour in a good cause, for enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship and endurance that will never own defeat." His passion for remembrance for what had happened pushed him to erect a museum to hold the written records of the Aussies component in the war, the relics of our triumphs, tragedies, sacrifice and heroism; a place to hold the Anzac spirit.
Albert Jacka is probably the prime example of the Anzac spirit in action, he being the first Australian to be awarded a Victoria Cross on the 20 of September 1916. To have received this medal, he had shot five Turkish soldiers with his rifle, bayoneted two others and forced the other Turks to flee the trench. Not only that, but during the capture of the Hindenburg Line, he detained a shell hole from Germans, killing and capturing a number of them with eight members of his platoon of the 14th Battalion. During this small battle, Jacka had inspired other soldiers to join him in the fight and with the help, the attack was successful.
An example of someone who held the Anzac spirit was John Flynn, who started the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The first flight of the Royal Flying Doctors service from Cloncurry gave those who lived in the bush hope for better medical care. But still, for those too far away from telephone or telegraph lines had no way to receive help. Alfred Traeger, a young inventor form Adelaide, suggested a pedal-powered wireless. It revolutionised life in the outback and along with the magazine, The Insider, the bush was given a voice to the urban areas of Australia.
One individual named Dr. Victor Chang had changed the face of heart surgery forever with his research in cardio thoracic devices such as heart valves and even an artificial heart, though his biggest endeavour was with heart transplants. Son to Australian-born, Chinese parents, he moved to Australia to complete his schooling and went on to become a surgeon. This research proved to save many patients with life threatening heart conditions. A true show in the Anzac spirit; saving lives and started a breakthrough to help not just Australians, but people all over the world.
Fred Hollows led the world in treatment of eye diseases and surgery. Though born in New Zealand in 1929, he migrated to Australia and became an ophthalmologist. First deciding to be a missionary, he changed his professional goal to ophthalmology and quickly lent a hand to Aboriginals living in the outback with poor eye conditions. He described it as; "It is appalling. It is much worse than white health was in the worst times of the depression. It is appalling by third world standards."
He performed more than a thousand operations and treated more than thirty thousand people.
A recent event that could account the Anzac spirit was in East Timor. Major General Peter Cosgrove, the INTERFET commander, who led Australian soldiers into a dangerous situation with an overall success in the mission.
The Minister for Defence, John Moore said, "Peter Cosgrove has earned the respect and gratitude of all Australians for the compassionate and courageous way he conducted our nation's contribution to the United Nations mission in East Timor."
'The Anzac spirit has affected my life as an Australian learning about the endeavours of this country and its people, before I was born and today. The Anzacs went to war as young, inexperienced soldiers, with little or no experience in a bloody battlefield, only relying on what they'd thought a war would be like. I suppose many hopes and dreams that had shattered as soon as the enemy put the first bullet into them, but those around them who were still willing to stand, fought fiercely and bravely as they could.
To this day, these pioneers have contributed a great deal to everyone and we perceive them with the spirit within them.
The Anzac spirit has lived on inside Australians to this day inside these people that have done our country proud. Depending on who you are and whether you believe the Anzac spirit still bums brightly within and among ourselves is completely up to us as individuals. No one can say itís there, and no one can say it isn't. There can be no defined meaning to the Anzac spirit though we have made it a cornerstone on to which we've built an image of Australia and its people for the whole world to recognise. It is unique and will stay with us forever and with everything we'll do as a proud country.
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