Olwyn Green,2000
The soul selects her own Society-
Then – shuts the Door –
To her divine Majority-
Present no more –
Emily Dickinson

You recognise him, the Australian soldier, thedigger, the Anzac. He was first sighted one dawn scrambling up adistant, bullet-racked beach. Some, though, claim they sightedhim earlier, on horseback in the guise of a bushman. If theimagination were to be stretched, he could have been seen evenearlier, when his horse was white and he carried a javelin. Andhe glanced up to see if the beautiful lady were watching.

It is the one scrambling up the beach we surelyrecognise as the one with the Australian face. Where he emergedwas close to a like beach on which another very identifiableface, of another hero, the swift, heel-weak Achilles fought,grieved and died.

They are two faces that stand out among thethousands in the line of heroes that stretches back to mythictimes, indicating that the die in the psyche, is, after all,"transpersonal."

The hero of the many faces belongs to a caste ofsouls, the entry to which is trial by combat to prove hisessential quality, his courage, and his allegiance to a god, aking, an ideal - or to a love.

At Agincourt, near the Somme, the compact becameWord: the promise given was that "to the ending of theworld" those who had joined the band of warrior brotherswould be able to "stand a tip toe among men."

In the caste of warrior the hero is deaf to thecynics’ words of warning that he is being duped. Thewarrior who was to become the Anzac, the hero with the Australianface, heeded Masefield’s notice that he indeed bore thewarrior stamp: "For physical beauty and nobility of bearingthey surpassed any men I have ever seen. They walked and lookedlike kings in old poems." Perhaps they all should havelistened more carefully, for they could have been warned by theone who observed more keenly that the smug faced crowds cheeringthem on would never know " the hell where youth and laughtergo."

It was noted by a woman, Virginia Woolf, aftertheir violent war they call the great war that the consciousnessof man had changed. It took another more violent war for it tobecome a realisation that the soul of man, let alone the warrior,had been emptied. Warriors were no longer heroes. War was nolonger an honourable tournament or contest. It was a disease.

Is it that the men who readily elected to jointhe imagined caste of warriors on June 26th 1950 to fight forfreedom had not realised that all the signifiers had beenscrambled in a mushroom cloud: that the world had changed,"changed utterly?"

Like Achilles and like the first Anzacs, theywent, their die cast, on the long hero journey, to another land,and fought in the hell that was their war, and lost and grieved.They came home standing tall in the belief that they wore thehero’s face.

Nobody noticed them. They soon became forgottenmen of a forgotten "war." They set out for the sanctumof heroes where surely they would be properly received. But thedoor was shut, or it was slammed in their face. Echoing in theirears to the end of time, was their damnation through three littlewords. "Yours was not a war. It was only A Police Action."

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