I am in favour of the Australian War Memorial, here in Canberra, not so much because it is a memorial, but because it is an important museum, archive, gallery and cultural asset relating to Australia’s all too frequent participation in warfare.
In 2005, the memorial held of events to highlight the 90th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings and the 60th anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe). There was commemorative service on the anniversary day, 8 May. The program was disappointing as it differs little from the one that has been used at countless ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day ceremonies for years. The hymns were those used over and over and the prayer used non-inclusive language. The Memorial needed to be a bit more imaginative.
Yes, we need to remember the sacrifice of those who gave everything. Australians do this on ANZAC Day (25 April) and Remembrance Day (11 November). But on 8 May, we could have used a more lively ceremony to celebrate not Victory in Europe, but Peace for Europe. There are many people of German descent in Australia and over a million of Italian descent. (See Gianfranco Cresciani. The Italians in Australia. Cambridge Univ Pr., 2003). It would have been very fine if they could have joined their fellow Australians to give thanks for peace.