LEST we forget why we, Australians, value our nation and her creed, not because we’re egotistical but because we’re so completely and utterly proud.
Lest we forget the sacrifice witnessed a centenary ago, one forged through mateship and delivered for King and for Country.
Lest we forget the spirit, the nation-defining spirt, that characterises the way we grew up as a people in this young federation and which speaks for who we are on the global canvas today.
Lest we forget the way we remember, the way we acknowledge and show immense gratitude for those who have gone before us so that we now can live so richly.
Lest we forget the ways in which we celebrate and remember those Diggers, those pesky but brilliant, those small in number but ever-influential, those often so young in age but often so profound in heart.
Lest we forget the 25th of April, a day we, along with our New Zealand brothers and sisters, bandy around one another to shed a thought, a tear and a wry smile at what happened so tragically 100 years ago but how two of the greaTest nationalities the world’s ever known grew from their efforts.
Lest we forget to always bask in the glory of their feats, the specific successes of the campaigns playing no part in the measure of those feats.
Lest we forget that in Melbourne, most particularly, we through the vehicle of sport have extended the branch of understanding and education to the next generation through the annual Anzac Day fixture between Collingwood and Essendon.
Lest we forget, at our nation’s greatest colosseum, that a crowd, a city, a country stands still to pay their respects and to reiterate that they will never, ever be forgotten.
Lest we forget with the motorcade of soldiers past and present, the warmest of warm applause greeting them and the overabundance of thankfulness and appreciation for being who they are and what they have done for us.
Lest we forget the meaning, the symbolism, of the two teams running through a shared banner, a shared banner bearing the names of those men whose bravery allowed such an occasion to occur today, because the notion of paying every respect far outweighs the gamesmanship of being opponents.
Lest we forget the eery, spine-tingling silence of the crowd, the coming together of two bitter inner-city rivals, the chilling fluttering of the flags all that can be heard as heads are bowed to reflect or stances staunched in pride.
Lest we forget that in those moments, the Ode of Remembrance, the national anthem, we are overcome with a twisted mix of sadness and defiance, in memoriam of those who have gone before us and spared their lives.
Lest we forget the Last Post, the echoing haunt of the tune ricocheting off towering grandstands, where 100,000 people have come not as much to support their team but to take part in something truly moving, truly special.
Lest we forget the emotion, the raw and unequivocal emotion of those present and those watching at home, as the notion of sport and the context of the day’s game are completely surpassed by our thoughts to another era and the reaffirmed self-consciousness of how bloody good it is to be an Australian.
Lest we forget that tomorrow, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, an iconic landmark that helps put this country on the map, which so imposingly represents our culture, the true meaning of what Anzac Day stands for can be wonderfully celebrated.
Lest we forget that we have added further stature and virtue to the day by this intersection of sport as the agency and the perennial remembrance of our heroes provide one grand and momentous occasion.
Lest we forget that through attending the Anzac Day match, thousands upon thousands will be better in fathoming the importance of remembering the Anzacs and we are ever so fortunate for its ability to do so.
Lest we forget that while the Anzacs will never, ever be forgotten, their legacy is that little further reinforced by the service the Anzac Day pre-game at the MCG provides and there indeed can be no greater thing than that.
Lest we forget that on Saturday, 100,000 people, by attending a sporting fixture, will renew their vowel, to always be grateful, to always remember, and to always be proud of being Australian.
Lest we forget what it must have been like, as we reflect, on the crippling state of warfare, where the odds are so heavily stacked against you but you go, and go again, not because you should, not because it feels right, but for your mate standing next to you and for those loved ones many, many miles away.
Lest we forget those who didn’t come home, those who didn’t get the chance to re-engage in the freedoms they fought for so valiantly, those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for you, me and the rest of us forevermore so fortunate.
Lest we forget every man and every woman who can call themselves an Anzac and who will eternally be recognised as the pinnacle of our being and the defining characteristic of our nation’s fibre.
Lest we forget just how damn Australian it is that we pay tribute so beautifully to our greatest cultural influence through our greatest cultural pastime – sport.
Lest we forget.