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By Mitch Alexander

Every year, the same thing; it’s a history of bloodshed! It should be a sombre day of mourning! We’re still experiencing problems that stem from this very moment you want to celebrate!

Enough.

This country has been formed, through bad moments and good, with notable individuals and collectives, to become a place of freedom, and this day of all days is a time when Australians of all backgrounds can come together to look forward into our promising history, not backwards into a meaningless past. We acknowledge the bad on plenty of other days; let this date be a date of unity and happiness. And a cheeky bloody chance to get blind on a weekday.

Now of course people have suffered, on this date and many others afterwards. Only a fool would deny that.

But likewise, only a fool would want to make that the national focus. The people involved in the events of that day, even of that entire decade, are long since dead. I had nothing to do with anyone’s suffering. Neither did you. Why should either of us be forced to dwell on horrible events we can’t change, just because others think it’s disrespectful.

That’s what’s great about Australia. You’re allowed to disagree with me. I’m allowed to disagree with you. But so long as we’re both free to disagree, and free to celebrate our shared history however we see fit, then Australia is still the greatest country on Earth.

So sure, if you want to make it a dour and joyless occasion, you’re free to waste your day off. But if I want to have a rowdy barbie and piss up with my mates, don a cape and act the bloody larikan, like my father and his father before him, then that’s how I’ll celebrate my ANZAC day.