As Australia Day nears, in a country full of patriotism at home and abroad, I thought it fitting to write about 'pride', and the impact it can have on us - deep, deep within us.
It’s the kind of pride that brings a smile to your heart, a tingly sensation to your body, a little height to your torso, and goose bumps all over. We’ve all had moments like these. And if you've let yourself really 'feel it', it's something you can't forget, you don't want to forget.
Most recently for me it was unexpectedly watching 'Georgie Girl', a musical recounting the story of The Seekers... Not only did I thoroughly enjoy it and learn a lot about the amazing achievements of this Australian folk band, but I had one of those ‘goose bump’ moments. They did the the most incredible performance of ‘I am Australian’. It was co-written by Bruce Woodley of The Seekers in 1987. The animation in their faces, the strength of their voices, the pride in their eyes. Every bit of it echoed through your heart.
I've had similar feelings at ANZAC Day dawn services. 60-80,000 people, respectfully crowding around in the wee hours of the morning at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. Rain, hail or shine there is an abundance of respect being paid by all ages, all walks of life. As there is in all ceremonies around the country, the bugler plays The Last Post - and you can feel the pride and respect of the entire nation.
Before a footy final, a tennis final, the Melbourne Cup, any big event - the Anthem brings the otherwise boisterous crowd to momentary silence like nothing else can.
But this feeling extends way beyond watching or being part of a big game, a big performance...
It’s a parent seeing their child perform at a school concert or being awarded class honours
It’s watching the love between two friends up at the alter exchanging their vowels
It’s hearing someone speak with such admiration of your parent or sibling, as you think to yourself - that's 'my' Mum, or that's 'my' Sister
It's listening to a team member describe why they just love working with you, why it's so much more than a job, and you're so much more than a boss
It's selling your 1st piece of art, or publishing your 1st book...
Pride is something we have within us - we feel within us. You couldn't replicate it if you tried - it can't be 'made up' or 'bought out'. It lies deep within and really is one of the most gratifying and raw feelings you can experience.
It crosses borders, Australians are most certainly not the only ones with pride - countries and communities around the globe share and express it in their own way. But with Australia Day nearing, I thought it fitting to give a special mention to this fine country that I for one am so very proud to call home.
This Australia Day let’s hold our heads up high and celebrate the privilege of being Australian, and the joy it is to feel pride from deep within.
I am, you are, we are Australian.
BE PROUD! And feel the goose bumps.
(Originally published - 21st January, 2016)
Watch the clip below of The Seekers re-uniting 32 years on, to perform our iconic song on Australia Day 2000.