My name is Al and I juggle lots of stuff
Imagine if you will a cold and frosty night. There is a buzz in the air that is electric… not the kind of excitement of a night on the town and the carefree air of anticipation of another weekend to remember… no… this is the kind of thrill of the unknown… As those around you nervously nod their unstated encouragement, you think back to when times were more simple… However, nostalgia only warms you for a moment as up ahead the line nudges forward a few more places and you can hear the quiet murmur of dozens of fellow queuers slowly realising that their meeting with destiny is that little bit nearer.
You wonder how you got here… the effort it took to forge the birth certificate that would give you access to an opportunity that otherwise might leave you behind… The effort to convince your family that the farm will be ok, because you will only be in the city for “the weekend”… It all comes down to this… besides, there is NO WAY mum would ever agree to let you take your chance in the theatre that lies ahead of you…
The story above could easily exist in 1915 or 2013… It could easily describe the inner workings of the mind of a 16 year old from the heartland of New Zealand that had escaped home to enlist as a soldier in World War One… or unfortunately it could be the story of any young person today that has their heart set on a place on X-Factor. It could be the Theatre of War, or The Civic Theatre…
Tomorrow is Anzac day.
As a nation, we have always seen that we have an important mandate to fight for our freedom, and more recently, for the freedom of others. We enjoy a freedom of expression that allows us to lead the world in many important ways. We sent half of our grandfathers across the planet to fight battles against tyrannical foes that threatened to embitter the planet with their evil ideologies. We sent men that enlisted and chose to go without promise of profit or fame. Young men would lie about their age NOT TO GET OUT OF IT, but to GET AMONGST IT! There was a pervading narrative of giving everything, that others might know freedom. The measure of these young men was in what they gave, and that cost many of them EVERYTHING.
I wonder what they would think if they were to see the way we spend the currency of freedom that they invested in our world. I think to some extent they would be happy with the way we have built a country that punches way above our weight on the world stage – they would probably prefer a few more Rugby World Cups under our belt as a nation… but mostly I think they would look at the way that our society lives and, flabbergasted, they would probably cry a resounding lament:
I DIED FOR THIS?
I don’t want to be too over the top (it might be a bit late for this) but I truly want to invest my freedom wisely… I want to make a difference with the way I live my life and live a story that honours the investment that was made in my freedom. I hope to not just invest that story now, but in those that will come after me. I want to leave something meaningful in this country… something that will be remembered.