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The Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross

It always disappointments me that we can’t honour the “other bloke” whenever we decide to pin a medal on one of “ours”. It takes two (sides, blokes) to win a medal. No hermit ever won a Victoria Cross. “Corporal Ben” (we can’t use his real name) could not have been nominated for his award without the other side playing their part – even if they did lose their life in playing it.

But where is the “other side” commemmorated? On what citation will their names appear? And I presume they or their survivors would have no objection to their real names being used, rather than some Sesame Street caricature. Why couldn’t we declare them – the “other side” – as Victoria Cross Associates? Even in an Australian Rules Football Grand Final the losing side, while they may not get a medal (there have been moves to change that) they are certainly not nameless and invisible, despite being pretty miserable. It’s part of the Australian tradition of “fair go” to give recognition, albeit different in form, to all involved, to both sides.

When it comes to sheer courage and bravery it’s hard to overlook the bloke who gets a job, a job he may not particularly enjoy, and holds it for forty or more years, getting reluctantly out of bed each morning and going off to work just so he and his family can keep a roof over their heads and put something on the dinner table. That is total courage. But he’ll never be awarded a medal. He’s not part of the set where being an adrenalin-junkie is socially legitimate.

Reference: Kathryn Bigelow’s film on the Iraq War; ” … Adrenalin is a Way of Life in The Hurt Locker … ”


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