Melanie Taylor – A Letter to Grandad on Anzac Day

24 April 2019
Dear Grandad,

ANZAC Day always brings you to the forefront of my mind. I am extremely grateful for what you did for our country. However, this ANZAC Day grieves me like no other.

Things have changed so much since you passed away Grandad. I wish I could say that they have changed for the better. Sadly that is not the case.

I am so sorry Grandad.

You fought for so much in that horrific war. You fought for our freedom – our complete freedom. Can you believe that some of those freedoms are now under attack? What’s worse is that the attack isn’t coming from an enemy, it’s actually coming from fellow citizens and Government representatives.

I’m so sorry Grandad.

Yes, there are actually groups of influential people who want to start messing with our freedom of speech. People who are advocating to punish people who proclaim disagreement with other religions or ways of life. They are calling it ‘hate speech’.

I’m so sorry Grandad.

And this year, I cannot join in the normal ANZAC remembrance events. Many of them have been cancelled for fear of terrorist attacks. Can you believe that Grandad? Terrorism in our very own country? So this ANZAC Day is shrouded in fear and public safety concerns. This is not our country. This is not how it should be.

I’m so sorry Grandad.

And that is just the beginning of just how drastically things have changed here in New Zealand. Remember how you always told me to stand up for what is right? You taught me that God and family come first. When I became a mum, I remember you telling me how important loving, firm boundaries and discipline would be for my children. I remember you telling me about how your children were smacked for their own good. Oh, how things have changed Grandad. Can you believe that in today’s world, you would be classed and convicted as a criminal if you disciplined your children the way you did in the 60’s? A war hero back then – a criminal today.

I’m so sorry Grandad.

Do you know what hurts the most Grandad? If you were alive this ANZAC Day, you would be admired and respected by some, yet hated by many. You smacked your children and would be called a criminal for it. You believed strongly that marriage was only between a man and a woman; today you would be called a bigot and a ‘homophobe’. You spoke against and had no time for religions that advocated for death and severe punishments, you would be called a ‘hate speaker’ and ‘Islamophobe’. You would be appalled at the thought of abortions and euthanasia because you valued all life, and believed in life and natural death. You would be called a right wing extremist for that.

I’m so sorry Grandad.

I remember all your fellow war veterans you spent time with every ANZAC Day. I remember your sadness as those numbers slowly diminished over the years. If you were alive today, if you were all alive today, it saddens me to think of just how appalled you would be at the direction the country had been heading. As a man with traditional and conservative values and morals, you would feel completely out of place in our ever-increasing liberalised world. Bewildered at all these young people constantly staring at small screens. Disheartened at our suicide rates, and massive breakdown of the family unit. Shocked that the word ‘terrorism’ even exists in our country.

I’m so sorry Grandad.

So Grandad, my hope is that this is the one and only time changes will be made on an ANZAC Day, how you and your comrades in arms are remembered. I hope that one day we will be a country that you would have been proud of. I hope that as a society, we will endeavour to ensure that everything you fought for will be proudly upheld. I hope that one day I will not feel the need to apologise to you for the path our county has taken. My hope is that future generations will never forget what so many died for, and that they will continue to honour and remember you.


Mel Taylor is a Specialist Caregiver, who along with her husband, takes on high at-risk and behavioural teen boys to live in their family home. Mel has cared for over 400 youth, and has been caregiving for over 17 years. Mel is the Family First Spokesperson on youth issues.


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