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Remembrance Day – Understanding the Past and Stepping into the Future

November 11, 2019

Allison Paterson

On Remembrance Day we stop to honour and remember all those who have fought to protect others, or suffered in war and conflicts of the past. It is a day of commemoration in nations across the world and is a reminder of the great sacrifices made. Walking in the footsteps of ancestors and discovering what they endured for the life we have today can be a humbling experience, it can also be motivating and life-changing. My first publication Anzac Sons: the Story of Five Brothers in the War to End Wars, took me on a journey of discovery and developed a conviction to continually share the stories that I uncovered. I strongly believe that understanding your heritage and appreciating the past is the key to identity and moving into the future.

I have worked as a teacher and teacher librarian and now as a publishing consultant, writer and presenter in schools. In discussions with mid-to-upper Primary-age children there is often a misconception that the experience of the Anzacs began and ended at Gallipoli. Once a specific Year 6 topic, today it is not until Year 9 that the curriculum focuses on the service of Australians after the birth of the Anzac legend. Students may have opportunities to visit the Australian War Memorial on school visits, and teachers and families do fill the gaps, but, generally, the idea that Gallipoli is World War I seems to be common in the Primary years.

I come back to my belief – understanding your past helps you move into the future. In those critical years as children are beginning to reflect and be socially aware, to understand the service and sacrifices of both our ancestors and those who serve today must surely contribute to the development of identity and an understanding of what it means to be Australian. I believe that self-understanding and knowledge of service helps develop community spirit and empathy for others.

Australia Remembers: Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials presents a detailed explanation of the origins and traditions of Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, exploring both their connections and significance to young Australians today. Young readers are also invited to reflect, and never forget, as they investigate the commemorative role and history of the countless memorials spread across Australia and beyond.

The next book in the series titled Australia Remembers: Customs and Traditions of the Australian Defence Force will be released in 2020. It will expand on some of the rituals which students see on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day. There are so many stories to tell!

Allison Marlow Paterson is the author of the 2016 ABIA and CBCA longlisted title Anzac Sons: Five Brothers on the Western Front, the children’s version of the adult non-fiction title Anzac Sons: the Story of Five Brothers in the War to End All Wars. Both are based on a collection of over 500 letters sent from the Western Front by her grandfather and his four brothers.

For more books from Allison view here

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