Opinion

Daddy-O column: Will my daughter face the horrors of war?

Not only parents of sons need worry about the threat of another war as women can also now choose to take up arms.
Not only parents of sons need worry about the threat of another war as women can also now choose to take up arms. Rob Williams

AS A boy I remember imagining war from the sidelines, like an invisible spectator. The helicopters would fly overhead and rain destruction on those below - okay, so my visions of 1915 were not exactly historically accurate.

Nevertheless, I watched it in my mind's eye the way you watch Saving Private Ryan. Shocked but safe. As a teenager, I wondered how I would manage on the front lines of some foreign conflict.

Would I be a conscientious objector if there was a draft? Would I take up arms if, as in the Second World War, the theatre of war came to us?

Since then I've thought about now-departed Pop who fought the Japanese in Papua New Guinea, part of a force who kept the enemy from taking a major airfield in the Battle of Milne Bay.
 

Australian troops advance past the bogged Japanese light tanks at Milne Bay in 1942
Australian troops advance past the bogged Japanese light tanks at Milne Bay in 1942 Australian War Memorial

The idea of this ordinary man, beloved by an ever-sprawling brood, having to kill or maim other men. How do you reconcile that with the greying man who doted on his grandkids and adored his jungle garden?

Now, to this new dad, Anzac Day brings new fears. The threat of war is no longer a worry just for those raising sons.

In 2017, there are more than 10,000 women in the Australian Defence Force. If ever Australians were again drafted into war, women and girls would not necessarily be kept from harm's way.

If an enemy again threatens our global neighbourhood in decades to come, would my daughter vow to fight? Would she be forced to take up arms?

Australians have known peace for so long that I worry we have little idea of what war truly looks like.

We also may be at risk of forgetting that the heroes of the Anzac tradition - the ones we have lionised for a century - were ordinary Australians not so different from my Pop.

These were Australians pulled from the land and from the cities to face the horrors of war. When Australia joined World War One, 8.3% of the population signed up - about 416,000 out of five million.

If that proportion of Australians ever took up arms again it would be a force of about two million going to war. And if it went the same way as The Great War, 288,000 wouldn't come home and about 750,000 would be wounded, gassed or taken prisoner.

Through that lens, this year I'll contemplate why those Australians died. They died fighting for a cause they believed was right, and they died to protect a homeland they thought was under threat.

I'll also cherish my daughter and hope that our fallen teach us to find every possible avenue before we again think about sacrificing our own.

Follow Owen Jacques on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics:  anzac day daddy-o father fear opinion owen jacques


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Today live from Hamilton Island

The Today Show on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays.

Today live from Hamilton Island.

Two vehicle crash at Cannon Valley

Police

Another accident on Whitsunday roads.

Raiders hold off Camelboks hunt

Proserpine/Whitsunday Raiders v Kuttabul Camelboks at Quarry Hill on Saturday, June 24, 2017.

Raiders hold off Camelboks raid.

Local Partners

Man kicks police officer and escapes conviction

A man who kicked a police officer has been extremely lucky to avoid a jail sentence.

Bundy mum blogging to get families offline

FAMILY FUN: Deonie Crowther is holding family craft sessions at the Windmill Cafe in Bargara.

Crafty projects a hit with parents and children

Take luxury food, wine tour around Toowoomba

FOODIE CULTURE: Emily Moon (left) and Cheryse Bliesner with the Hummer used for Toowoomba's Luxury Food and Wine Tour.

It is designed to highlight the best produce the region has to offer

Country music stars coming to Ipswich

Ipswich will get it's country on when The Country Superstars Tribute Show hits town on Friday, June 30 at Brothers Leagues Club.

A UNIQUE tribute show will bring a bit of country into the city.

Game of Thrones: Crucial details you probably forgot

IT’S been a while since we’ve been to Westeros. But there are some crucial story points you need to remember before we head back there for season seven.

Pregnant Serena Williams nude on cover of Vanity Fair

"My heart dropped. Like literally it dropped,”

Wonder Woman sequel underway

Gal Gadot in a scene from the movie Wonder Woman.

IT’S no surprise plans are already underway for Wonder Woman 2.

MasterChef: Fish fry feast too much for Ipswich cook

Willowbank native Nicole Stevenson has been eliminated from MasterChef.

NICOLE Stevenson narrowly misses out on MasterChef's Top 10.

Thor on holiday: Chris Hemsworth is here!

If you didn't know who he was - you'd think he was a local

Agent judged among the world's best

Century 21 on Duporth principal Damien Said with team members Ryan Tomlinson, Jamie Smith, Kristie Cannon, Andrew Richardson and Sarah Beckman at the Maroochydore office.

Sunshine Coast real estate agent named in world-wide group's top 25

Island caretaker has weeks to live, abandons paradise

St Bees managing director Phil Webb, has been struck with illness and it has prompted the sale of the island.

His health has deteriorated in the past couple of months

Prime CBD site sold as laneway culture progresses

The Longs building Ruthven Street has been purchased by a group of investors to be renovated into a series of shops/eateries.  June 2017

How investors and council plan to transform the Toowoomba CBD

Gateway opens to $3b Coast mega estate

VISION: An artist's impression of the Palmview development 'Harmony' and its linear park.

New road provides link from the past to the future

Major German supermarket set to open in southeast Queensland

German supermarket giant Kaufland is understood to have approached southeast Queensland councils about a possible distribution centre, which would kickstart the establishment of new supermarkets.

Supermarket giant Kaufland has its eyes firmly on Queensland.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!