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.

Council: desex your pet

RIGHT DECISION: Pete Stoneman, his sons and their three dogs, CQ Pet Rescue president Susan Consedine and council ranger John Sykes.

Find out how you can get discounted desexing for your pet.

Nominate your business today

TNC Cranes and H.E.M.E. were jointly crowned 2015 Central Highlands Business ofthe Year.

Central Highlands Business Excellence Awards nominations are open.

Called upon to share his faith

IN SERVICE: Reverend Jim Pearson in his office reflecting on Anzac Day. Rev Pearson led the prayers at the Emerald services.

Uniting Church minister reflects on Anzac Day

Local Partners

Ice trafficker cops death threat, then jail

Gladstone woman remanded in custody for her own safety after death threat from bikie is jailed for trafficking ice

Toowoomba woman's Africa trip to share song

HERE TO HELP: Women in Harmony music director Elaine Coates (right) will travel to Uganda later this year to work with the African Children's Choir. Former members of the choir travelled to Toowoomba to perform last year incuding Elizabeth Panga (left) and tour manager Abraham Kiyingi.

A Toowoomba woman is preparing for a trip of a lifetime

Hundreds of cars going for bargain at record Coast auction

Mike Clayton at the Nambour car yard in the lead-up to a previous year's sale.

Impounded cars going under the hammer, no reserves

Moranbah mum hopes to turn The Voice red chairs

Moranbah's Brooke Schubert has auditioned for this season's The Voice.

Mackay pub favourite Brooke Schubert auditions for The Voice.

Anthony LaPaglia steps out with new fiancee

Screen legend Anthony LaPaglia has confirmed his engagement to his much younger girlfriend, Alexandra Henkel

Ronan Keating a dad for fourth time

Ronan Keating and Storm Keating.

Bouncing baby boy for Boyzone star

Lion King remake well under way

Seth Rogen.

More Lion King remake cast members revealed

Splendour auctions VIP passes for flood appeal

Crowd at Splendour in the Grass 2016.  Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Each pass will have a reserve price of $500

The pic that could cost Khloe Kardashian $200k

Khloe Kardashian has admitted she "loves" watching porn, but doesn't think her family are famous purely because of her sister Kim Kardashian West's sex tape.

Khloe Kardashian has been slapped with a $A200,750 lawsuit

Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme dies

Director Jonathan Demme, 73, has died of cancer. He is pictured here attending the premiere of "Song One" in New York.

TRIBUTES have poured in for the Oscar-winning director.

Falling rents could spell doom for housing prices

What if I told you housing in Australia was getting cheaper?

Couple gets rich renovating run-down city homes

RENO RADICALS: Baden and Nelson Marino-Hall have turned three Toowoomba homes around for profit, saying the Garden City was a haven for renovators like themselves.

The couple has already turned around three homes

Townhouse pitch raises questions over 'high density'

BIG PLANS: Residents have a chance to offer their opinion on plans to build 42 townhouses at Raceview.

Developer plans 42 townhouses for Ipswich suburb

7 million dollar city homes for sale right now

3 Keira Court, Blue Mountain Heights.

Here are seven of Toowoomba's best, and most expensive, houses

'Raping and pillaging': Landlord's anger with nightmare cost

Chris Duane, who is chairman of the body corporate for Terralina Court, says insurance companies are charging too much for premiums.

BODY corporate boss unleashes on huge costs dumped on home owners.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!