How ignorant and disrespectful do you have to be to cheer or jeer on one of the most poignant days of the Australian calendar?
When the Last Post and a minute of silence precede a sporting event, the least a fan can do is stand and keep their mouth shut before they can get into their onfield shouting matches.
But a large part of the ANZ Stadium crowd at last night’s State of Origin match couldn’t help themselves. They cheered as Corporal John Byrne finished playing the Last Post, “not realising there was more to come” according to News.com. That was bad enough.
Then came the wave of booing in the middle of what should have been a minute of silence, which hit another level of disgrace.
The game’s television viewers could see an apparent hint of sadness and horror in Corporal Byrne’s face afterward as he concluded the ceremony with the Reveille.
The saga began with one random call-out from a fan in the stands – according to some on social media the antics belonged to a Queensland supporter at the game who was promptly ejected.
They allege that the behaviour of this supporter triggered the jeers from the crowd.
That’s no excuse. You do not take part in breaking the silence just because another fan is acting up.
The game itself, in which NSW defeated Queensland 34-10 to take the series to a decider in Brisbane, did not deserve to be overshadowed like that. No game does, and certainly no Remembrance or ANZAC Day ceremony does.
We know we’re capable of behaving ourselves during a ceremony at the footy. We’ve done it countless times before when Essendon have played Collingwood or the Roosters have faced the Dragons on ANZAC Day.
Twice a year, the minutes of silence we hold, the wreaths we lay, and the poppies we wear, no matter where we are, bring out the best in Australians as we pay our respects to the nation’s fallen. The vast majority of us proudly adhere to the ceremonial traditions and demonstrate our gratitude to those soldiers the best way we can.
The clowns who ruined it for us this one time should hang their heads in shame.