I attended the memorial service at the Bribie Island RSL yesterday to remember all those who have gone before me and was a little put out by the ceremony. The local school choir got up and gave us a rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine and the Priest thought it reasonable to mention Bob Dylan as well. When the time came to sing the National Anthem, didgeridoos came across the speakers with the anthem tempo increased from the standard 4/4 to something like 6/8. No one could sing to it and the words were lost as people tried to keep up. There is proscribed music for the anthem and that definitely wasn’t it.
Lennon’s Imagine directly quotes the communist manifesto as he himself comments:
‘Imagine’, which says: ‘Imagine that there was no more religion, no more country, no more politics,’ is virtually the Communist manifesto, even though I’m not particularly a Communist and I do not belong to any movement.” He told NME: “There is no real Communist state in the world; you must realize that. The Socialism I speak about … [is] not the way some daft Russian might do it, or the Chinese might do it. That might suit them. Us, we should have a nice …British Socialism.
Dillon just wrote and sang anti-war songs and become one of the main leaders on the Vietnam War protests and moratorium marches. I have his music on my IPhone list and enjoy some of it but he is what he is and never supported the soldier, rather he denigrated them.
There’s a place for anti-war sentiment in the public debate, I just don’t think a November Memorial service in an RSL is it. No one there would’ve been pro-war but to take the stand they did questions the service and sacrifice of many men and women who we were remembering on this holy of days. While we were dying in South Vietnam Lennon and Dylan were a focus for the protesters and the only people to benefit from that were the Communists.
In essence the Sub Branch politicised the service with an emphasis on the anti war movement and indigenous recognition. It made me think a young naive teacher with leftist leanings had grabbed hold of the ceremony and turned it into some sort of litany of protest of the evils of war and our treatment of our indigenous mates.
Notwithstanding my sentiments on the conduct of the memorial service I managed to get back on subject and remembered my fallen mates and all those who remain forever young from the Boer War through to Afghanistan.
When I say ‘Lest we forget” I would caution certain Sub Branches that they don’t forget why they exist and not to confuse politics with sacrifice.