To say my blood boiled on Thursday when I heard not once but twice at televised sporting events held to commemorate ANZAC Day that some sports fans could not restrain themselves from making a spectacle of themselves during the minute of silence would be an understatement. I mean: how hard can it be to show some common decency and respect for those that have fallen to protect our way of life and shut your mouth for 60 seconds? I do not care whether these people, I guess I am forced to call them people because maybe calling them scum is too harsh, thought they were being funny or were inebriated or simply were just trying to look hard in front of their mates or a combination of all three there is simply no excuse for such conduct. For the record (assuming you can read): you are not funny, you are not hard and you are a disrespectful idiot if you are one of those who breaks the silence during a minute of silence.
I can not understand what makes someone conduct themselves in such a fashion on the solemnest of days. This is not a “back in my day rant” nor am I going to blame the “younger generation”. Simply put, I am left to wonder whether times have changed so much that a group of people who have come together to commemorate one of our most important days of remembrance simply can not remain quiet during the most important part of said remembrance?
The lack of respect shown by those who hoot and holler during the minute of silence and, indeed, during the silences that form part of the last post and those who reply to them in kind just baffles me. It would be easy to say that the police should simply throw the offenders out but in a crowd of some 40,000 or 90,000 that is never going to be possible. Vigilante action against those who break the silence is not appropriate (no matter how good it might feel) because all that would lead to is an assault charge and an escort from the ground. Are we at the point as a society where we are going to have to decide whether we should hold such sporting commemorations on ANZAC Day?
You can not tell me that those who deigned to denigrate the minute of silence with their shenanigans would have done so at a dawn service or at any other service to commemorate the ANZACs. It seems to me that maybe the answer to ensure that due respect is shown for those who have fallen defending this nation and those who continue to still fight for us is to cease the ANZAC day ceremonial part of the sporting events held on that day. I know this smacks of punishing the many because of the conduct of the few but if people can not show due respect at such events they should not be given the opportunity to ruin it for everyone else.
I confess that I have heard such appalling conduct take place on other occasions when a minute of silence has been sought to commemorate the passing of a dignitary or in memorial after a disaster of some description and whilst I have also been appalled on those occasions I have never really turned my mind to the lack of respect it shows to those being memorialized. I hope we are not at the point where a minute of silence can never be mooted at a sporting event again however the hand wringing that followed the passing of Baroness Thatcher and some proposed minutes of silence suggests that we may very well be already be there.
I have written previously about my disdain for those who do not sing our national anthem nor stand and remove their hat for same (https://shumpty77.com/2012/06/11/i-love-my-country-and-i-will-sing-our-national-anthem-why-wont-you/) and I feel similarly strongly about those who conduct themselves in the appalling fashion that we saw on Thursday as must be obvious from the foregoing. I hope one day we can get back to a place and time where a minute of silence can be observed without a “person” showing a callous lack of respect by breaking the silence.