The spirit of the Anzac is ingrained in the Australian culture. It also continues to sculpt our national identity.
As freedom-loving, independent and individual Australians in the UK, I believe most of you could share similar sorts of liberal views with me: I don’t like war or fighting.
And I strongly believe in the power of diplomacy.
But while I am getting all preachy about giving peace a chance, that doesn’t mean I don’t get a little choked up when Anzac Day rolls around.
Australian and Kiwi expats are privileged.
Having the opportunity to travel overseas and establish one’s life somewhere out of a comfort zone is a freedom many of us have embraced and continue to enjoy.
But moving to a different country isn’t a choice for everyone.
And other Australians don’t have the chance to explore past their own driveway let alone seedy Hackney backstreets.
For many, exploring in the UK is not about being Australian, more about becoming a global citizen.
So maybe the suggestion of getting up at 3am for a Dawn Service that recognises our home nation on a cold and dark Hyde Park Corner may not sound appealing.
But taking part in Anzac Day Services is about more than that.
Coming together at such events with thousands of other like-minded expats, travellers and UK residents alike is truly a moving experience.
It is easy to get bogged down by life’s worries when there are bills, rent and smelly, weird men on the Tube to cause daily trepidation.
However, there are other times when using some ‘big picture perspective’ is beneficial.
I don’t condone violence, but I still believe there are important times to acknowledge how times of war sculpt our world.
Maybe your grandfather, grandmother, father or cousin has been in – or is currently serving in – war zones, conflicts or peacekeeping missions.
Maybe they died serving for their country.
If they had a choice in the decision, and what led most into such dangerous situations, is respect.
Respect for one’s country’s name, respect for the Commonwealth, respect for their kin.
I believe that this dedication to the Australian and New Zealand way — whether seen to be blind idiocy or not — should be recognised.
I imagine most people who are courageous enough to sign up with military forces join with good intentions.
And that is not about a passion for death and destruction, but because they want the world to be a good place; regardless of how much military arm it takes to get there.
Chipping in to do their part, just like a good mate.
Anzac Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915.
It is the day we remember all Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.
The Anzac Spirit continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity. It moulds and shapes who we are as Australians. In an essence, it still continues to define us.
That’s why taking part in the London Anzac Day experience is so special.
While it is a fair mission to attend the Service, it is an amazing feeling of honour and pride as the hustle and bustle of London stops in order to recognise the Anzac Spirit.
It’s not just about remembering those that have gone before us. It is about coming together under our Antipodean flags. About celebrating what is so special to be an Aussie or a Kiwi.
For those feeling a pang of homesickness, coming together with thousands of fellow Australians, New Zealanders and even those not from the Antipodes, is a bit like catching up with a nice old neighbour. It’s exactly what our diggers would have wanted.
Enjoy, and remember them.