War is futile

Every year ANZAC day comes along, I hear of increasing numbers honouring our forefathers who summoned more than was ever expected to keep their country and future generations safe.

I presume this is why they “signed up”, but all is after all relative to cultural belief’s at the time. I do suspect many sought adventure.

All around Otago at least by the side of the road, and often under the shade of an oak tree those who never came back are remembered…
Dad 13

And in remote cemeteries I’m reminded too, and there is the occasional headstone of a soldier too among the rock and tussocks they called home, but I presume most were buried near where they fell…
Dad 14

I was in Glenorchy a few weeks ago and took some time to ponder on one of many many memorials in New Zealand, this one right beside the cafe – he looks so young…
Dad 5

I was struck by the attrition rate of what has always been a small community, and the impact at the time and for generations afterwards…
Dad 7

But do we really think enough on the lessons to be learnt, or just crowd the memorial with what we think we need in “our” lives…
Dad 6

We’ve just had the Warbirds Over Wanaka bi-annual airshow – do we think enough about why single engine fighter planes were built? Yes, they did defend us, but they were made to kill people too! Do we think much about the use of the word “Warbirds” or just go along with a good day out in the sun, where fighting is even re-enacted!

At least planes like this have been used for years since on humanitarian work…
Dad 3

My dad Norrie was away for nearly seven years after this photo was taken with his mum Elizabeth. I see an innocence in his eyes here, that I never experienced while being bought up and loved by him…

I think Egypt may have been a lot of fun with his mates, but not Italy and Monte Casino where they all died and he was wounded…
Dad 2

I’d say the physical wound was a mere trifle compared to the emotional and spiritual ones!

Memories become misty, and we all live with them…
Dad 10

In the weeks before his passing in the 80s I witnessed many of his in the most stark fashion: cancer cells were growing in his brain, and as I’d sit by his bedside, he’d often start panicking about machine gun armed Germans dressed in black on the rooftop of the house next door – in Oamaru!

I came to understand that all our realities are true, because I could with my own eyes see how true his were to him!

And as for Norrie in his youth: well his dad Sandy went to the Boer War. He stayed awhile in Africa too, and we don’t know why – a woman maybe.

The Kurow community bought him a horse to take with him. Yes, he did come back; horse, golden watch chain, medals and all, and Kurow celebrated.

But he died when Norrie and his brother Jim were barely teenagers. I’d surmise that war shortened his allotted years, and he too was scarred inwardly.

Did Norrie my dad learn “I don’t want to talk about the war Donald” when I was young, from his dad!?

So granddad Sandy headed to Forbury Park in Dunedin to train prior to going…
Dad 21

We know he’s in one or more of these photos, but we don’t know which soldier he is!
Dad 20

Dad 4

Dad 22

I note this year three New Zealand soldiers have died in Afghanistan along with countless other young men. To what avail! Things are still the same – war is crazy!

We have to raise consciousness… stop accepting programmes in TV that glorify the negativity, death and suffering.

We have to keep on remembering what ANZAC day is all about, and become stronger at this – not fighting!

Dad 11

Many thanks to my lovely cousin Deirdre Lousley/Sisson for sharing the hours of research behind finding the above photos.

Maybe one of you, dear readers could hazard a guess as to which soldier is our grandfather!

My good friend Bob McKerrow has also done a done a great ANZAC Day post

About this Like Minds Blog Donald Lousley

  10 comments for “War is futile

  1. April 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I am not aware of any family members who fought in the war -possibly my father’s father did, but he died young so I never really knew him. I think it’s fine to honour those who fought for our country, though personally, I would have been a conscientious objector. The world wars caused an imbalance of genders, and enormous ongoing suffering, both physical and mental, and this is true whatever wars you are talking about. War is not just futile, Donald, but also something that makes us lower than animals who at least fight only for survival and not for greed and evil.

    • Donald Lousley
      April 28, 2012 at 8:31 am

      Hi Shirley

      Thanks for your thought provoking words.

      Yes lower than low! We have to do our utmost to counter balance the negativity inherent in it, right down to every day life, and certainly not buy into any glorification of war.



  2. Brian Miller
    April 25, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Hi Don
    you have summed up my thoughts exactly – Brian

    • Donald Lousley
      April 28, 2012 at 8:33 am

      Hi Brian

      Thanks for the confirmation. I’m sure our dad’s would agree too.



  3. BJ
    April 25, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    We have lost much in the wars, and your loss is obvious.

    “Lest we forget”, but we forget, do we not, we are still battling around the world, tearing families apart, loss of innocence, joy and the pleasure of a full life.

    When will we learn?

    • Donald Lousley
      April 28, 2012 at 8:38 am

      Hi Bindu

      Yes indeed. We’ve got to encourage all to learn as you put it.

      I don’t feel I’ve lost much personally, but the thing is I grew up in the aftermath of a major one, so have known nothing different, having been bought up by a father who’d been scarred and obviously I was loved and cherished. But there was little if no help [or techniques?] to help heal zero response to feelings garnered over those years. They all mostly had just shut down I reckon.



  4. April 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Kia ora Donald,
    Well expressed thoughts. I get a bit troubled sometimes, eventhough it may not be “politically correct” to write, at the emphasis put on ANZAC Day as an identifier of nationhood. And to be fair Veterans Day in my homeland causes the same perplexion. My father was overseas for nearly 5 years, and I know it caused him many problems, and thus we his family as well. I recall his mother, my grandmother, pinning me against the wall as a young child and told to stop pestering my father about the war. “Good soldiers don’t talk!” is what she said. And that sort of sums up a lot for me.
    I have read so many books, and watched so many stories of all these men, and in cases women, living with these horrible memories, and most of the time it seems such an incredible waste. A lot of the themes seem to be these men and woman sacrificed so much, gave their lives, so our generation did not thave do so. Yet they still are, America has been in one conflict or another if not in all out war, ways for the last 60 years running. And most of the rest of the world has as well. So as BJ asks above When will we learn?
    And while I have respect and tears for the dead, particularly those in Gallipoli, I still feel this sense of utter waste at the lives lost on both sides, one a colonial invader trying to execute a doomed and faulty plan, the other falling in droves protecting their homeland. What great discoveries, art, literature, music, science, ect.. was lost to the world forever on those cliffs and trenches?

    Sorry to ramble once again. Cheers e hao.

    • April 28, 2012 at 2:08 am

      Donald, I can’t say too much as I wrote a little on my blog the day before ANZAC day. What a bloody waste and what was the cause they were fighting for?

      Let’s remember them. My Dad was scarred on Monte Cassinno too.

      • Donald Lousley
        April 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm

        Yes, Bob the subtle side of the reasons are already blurred.

        But indeed lets remember them, like you have too in your post this week



    • Donald Lousley
      April 28, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      Hi Robb

      It’s great to ramble Robb! And good words of wisdom always come from yours.

      It’s laudable that so many honour our fallen, and that “Lest we Forget” is being less and less forgotten, but…

      >identifier of nationhood

      … is too limiting I think. Nations aside we are all flowers in the same garden. To much separatism leads to conflict!



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