Paying respects to Australia’s war dead can be inconvenient, said the Melbourne Age in an editorial. Gallipoli, for example, the Turkish beach where so many Aussies died in World War I, is awfully far away. So one member of Parliament has proposed re-creating it right here at home. Danna Vale, a former minister of veterans affairs who should know better, wants to build a Gallipoli memorial park on an Australian beach that, she says, “bears an uncanny physical similarity” to the Turkish site. “In pilgrimage terms, one could apply the same logic to other distant places of intense national and historic significance: Why not build a Lourdes near Warburton or re-create the Somme at Ballarat?” The answer, of course, is that it is the ground itself that is sacred, not its outward appearance. Fortunately, most of our political leaders have already recognized that a fake Gallipoli would be “tacky,” and the proposal is heading for oblivion. “There is only one Gallipoli. Two would be a desecration.”
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