Remembering Disabled Veterans on Anzac Day
What is Anzac Day?
In Australia and New Zealand, Anzac Day is a national holiday on 25th April, to remember all Australians and New Zealanders who served in or died in any war, conflict, or peacekeeping operation. It commemorates the first major military battle that Australian and New Zealand forces fought at Gallipoli during the First World War. Additionally, it is a day to recognise the resilience and spirit of camaraderie among those who have served our country.
Importance of Disabled Veterans and Anzac Day
While the bravery of soldiers who fought in wars is often highlighted, it is also important to recognise the contributions of those who supported them, including the many disabled veterans and their caregivers.
Many Australian and New Zealand soldiers were injured or disabled during the First and Second World Wars. As they attempted to adjust to civilian life, these veterans faced major challenges, including finding employment, obtaining medical care, and coping with the emotional drain of their experiences.
60,000 Australian soldiers died and another 90,000 were physically or mentally disabled during the First World War. Thousands of Australian families welcomed home a ‘changed’ man as a direct consequence of war disability. Although the Commonwealth Repatriation Department provided ex-servicemen with pensions, hospitals, and medical treatment, much of the practical and emotional burden of care fell on family members, particularly wives and mothers. Families played a crucial role in caring for the nation’s “broken” Anzacs in the aftermath of 1914-18.
These disabilities, ranging from lost limbs to shell shock, frequently made it difficult for them to return to civilian life after the war. There was little understanding of how to support those with disabilities at the time, and many veterans struggled to find work and support.
In response, the governments of Australia and New Zealand established a number of institutions to assist disabled veterans and their caretakers. The Repatriation Department, established in 1917, was one of the most noticeable of these. This department helped disabled veterans and their families rebuild their lives by providing medical care, financial assistance, and vocational training.
Women, typically wives and mothers, made up the majority of the caregivers for disabled veterans. They were left to care for their loved ones on their own with little assistance. These carers were essential in giving profound and actual consideration to their friends and family, frequently in troublesome conditions.
The lives of disabled veterans and their caregivers remained difficult despite government assistance. Numerous individuals struggled to find employment that accommodated their disabilities and had ongoing health issues. They continued to rely on the support of family and friends because the financial assistance they received was insufficient to meet their requirements.
In response to the challenges faced by disabled veterans and their caregivers, it’s crucial to acknowledge the role of NDIS short term accommodation providers and supported independent living NDIS in today’s context. These services aim to provide the necessary support and assistance to improve the lives of veterans and their families.
We continue to remember and honour the First and Second World War sacrifices made by disabled veterans and caregivers. It is essential that we also acknowledge the challenges that disabled veterans and their families face both while they were serving and afterward. There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that all disabled veterans and their caregivers receive the support and assistance they require to live full and meaningful lives, even though our understanding of disabilities and the support that is required has advanced significantly.
Let us remember not only the soldiers who fought on the front lines on ANZAC Day, but also those who continued to support them. We owe it to them to make sure they get the help and support they need to live with respect and dignity.