- One of these people says we shouldn`t be fighting -
Together, they became the faces of last year`s ANZAC march; an image that at once
united two generations of Australians.
The photograph of Rebecca Ince, 23, next to her grandfather, John, while wiping away tears of pride in Sydney`s parade, appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald as the epitome of how the ANZAC spirit travelled through time.
UNITY: John Ince and his
granddaughter Rebecca at
last year`s ANZAC march
Today, however, the pair are divided thanks to the conflict in Iraq. But not in the way you might think.
Rebecca supports Prime Minister John Howard`s decision to send Australian troops. Her grandfather is vehemently opposed.
"I believe in a time of crisis we should pull together and get behind our troops over in Iraq and our Government," Miss Ince insists.
But John Ince, a veteran of the Russian Convoy run of World War II, maintains it is not our fight.
Mr Ince, 78, is by no means a pacifist. But he believes war should be a last resort and a nation should go to war only to defend itself from attack.
"Australia should not be in Iraq," he said. "The Arab countries are a law unto themselves. It is a lot of infighting and they don`t want interference from us at all. I am sure of that.
"Going to war there will only make the situation worse. There will be a backlash from the Arab countries against us for messing about in their backyard.
"I fear this will hang around for a long time with terrorist acts and reprisals."
Miss Ince hasn`t discussed Iraq with her grandfather. She says she is by no means a political person and doesn`t understand all the issues.
"I don`t think war is the answer for anything, but I do support our troops over there. Without our support it will be so hard for them," she said.
"I know the Prime Minister couldn`t have made the decision lightly. He has his reasons and I trust his judgement on it. If there is no trust in the leader of the country, what do you really have?"
The reality of war has hit Miss Ince hard. She said she was weeping in the photo taken at last year`s ANZAC Day march as, for the first time, her grandfather had told her what he had lived through in the merchant navy on the Russian convoys.
Mr Ince said it was one of the worst jobs: icy waters and certain death with no chance to shoot back at the German submarines that trailed them like wolves.
"If you were torpedoed you had no chance in the water, it was so cold," he said. "There were huge seas that towered over the ship and by the time the spray hit the deck it already was ice."
His granddaughter was shocked to hear what he had gone through.
"It was terrible," she said. Her respect for him grew, and she will be at ANZAC Day with him again this year.
"I think Iraq will hang over ANZAC Day," she said. "I think it will be different this year, more sombre as we think of the troops in Iraq fighting as we march in the main street in Sydney."
Welsh-born Mr Ince, who served in the merchant marine, said he had experience of the Middle East before and after the war working on ships and in industry.
His wartime experiences did not make him anti-war, but he says a country should choose when to go to war very carefully.
"We are getting caught up in a fight that involves the two main religions of the world and that can only lead to confusion and more fighting.
"They should settle their differences themselves. Us stepping in will only make it worse.
"I was against Vietnam as I thought it would be a disaster as we had no business being there. It was a disaster and Iraq will be a disaster as well."
Mr Ince is looking forward to marching on ANZAC Day and this time his older granddaughter Kate, 24, will walk with him while Rebecca cheers him on from the footpath.
"ANZAC Day is very very important and we must never forget it," Mr Ince said. "It is a chance to remember the blokes you served with and the sacrifice many of them made.
"We have terrible memories, all of us who served. We have to live with them and it helps to do it together. If anybody goes through a bad experience and comes through alive it marks you forever. You never forget who you were with and what it was all about."
He said Iraq was a separate war and would not overshadow his ANZAC Day.
"ANZAC Day will be the same for those serving in Iraq. Wars are wars and for those who fight them they will remember and mark those who served with them.
"They are doing their duty. Their country has asked them to go and they went. Whether they agree with it is beside the point, they do as they are told."
Rebecca Ince, a sales representative, said she would be on the streets for ANZAC Day to support her grandfather and all the other men and women who fought for their country.
by Sydney Morning Herald
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