The Australian War Memorial (AWM) is a very special place for our family. Not because we have close relatives who paid the ultimate price in the Great Wars, but because we have lost too many friends in our modern conflicts. While we were living in Wagga Wagga we made the journey east a few times to visit the AWM and place a poppy next to the names of our modern day heroes.
It’s always been important for us teach our children about the supreme sacrifice thousands of Aussies have made for our country. We feel it is important to honour the lives of these brave men and women. Equally important is to ensure we don’t glorify war, and to at least shield some of its horrors from young minds.
So instead of taking D-Man at the tender ages of 20 months, 2.5 years and at 3 years through the more gory and gruesome sections, we preferred to show him the symbolic side of remembering Australia’s fallen and the bravery all servicemen and women display.
You can place a poppy on the walls of Remembrance, pause for a moment at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, listen to the Last Post ceremony, and view the Victoria Cross medals in the VC Gallery.
Then there is the 'cooler' aspects of the AWM of looking through the big machines – any little boy’s dream, really. Kids of all ages enjoy flying a Huey helicopter as used in the Vietnam War, command and navigate an Australian Navy vessel, view aircraft and submarines, walk through a World War I trench, complete with sandbags and makeshift periscope to see over the parapet.
We feel a healthy dose of learning about Australia’s servicemen and women and the sacrifices they made can only serve to foster respect, gratitude and national pride.
So this Remembrance Day, take a moment to pause for one minute and maybe take your little one to your local war memorial or Remembrance Day service.