Today is “Australia Day”! Australia is a great country, there’s no denying that, and we have so much to celebrate.
The official Australia Day website reminds us that on January 26 we commemorate the day the first fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain arrived in Sydney Cove. I’m kind of uncomfortable about celebrating the arrival of ship-loads of convicts from another country. I suppose with all the outcry and controversy surrounding the continual stream of asylum seekers these days, we are led to believe it is a bad thing when strangers arrive on our shores, especially those with a criminal background.
We are told also that, although January 26 marks the anniversary of that great moment in history, we now celebrate because of “our diverse society and landscape, our remarkable achievements and our bright future.” Australia Day also “gives us an opportunity to reflect on our nation’s history and to consider how we can make Australia an even better place in the future.”
Agreed. We are indeed the “Lucky Country”. So very lucky!
Of course, there is always room for improvement; ways to be better, but better by whose standards and better in what areas? Better could mean being more considerate, more generous, more world-focused, more understanding, more caring, more loving, more sacrificial. I would like to be better at all those things.
In case it’s not obvious, something has been eating away at me this Australia Day. It is because of the horrors we have witnessed with the Haiti earthquake. I know what I think and feel isn’t necessarily the way other Australians think and feel and I’m not saying anyone is wrong or right and I certainly don’t want to put a damper on anyone’s celebrations.
But for me this Australia Day, I feel more like reflecting rather than celebrating. I want to reflect not on how we can make Australia an “even better place”, but on how countries less fortunate than ours need our help to make them better places for the future.
When I watch the Australia Day fireworks display this year, I’m going to be thinking of all the money that has gone up in smoke so that Australians can celebrate being Australian. To me, having the life we have, is celebration enough. We should celebrate every day! We have been blessed beyond what we deserve.
My dream is that everyone will wake up on Australia Day and say:
“No! I don’t need those fireworks. I don’t need anything, actually. I want the money that is spent across this great land of ours on pyrotechnic displays to be given to the people of Haiti.”
If my dream became a reality, then my celebratory heart would skip a beat. It would make me so proud to be Australian. Australia Day would be celebrated throughout the world! Australians would rejoice as one – one nation of people who can make a difference in the world!
Happy Australia Day everyone! May God continue to bless you.