With another Australia Day upon us, we should remind ourselves how unsinkable we are as a nation. We pop to the surface like a cheap champagne cork.
True, there is division and debate about this date. That's likely to remain and probably grow until the date is actually changed.
It is a debate with its foundation in our first and most resilient people, our Indigenous people. Against the odds, they have survived through blow after blow - white settlement, cruelty and murder, assimilation, the Stolen Generation - and hopefully we are ready to finally arrive at a different time together.
Whatever the date, we will all once again celebrate being Australian. You can celebrate this whether you have been an Aussie for a single day, or as far back as history records.
And you only have to look at Australia Day in any town on any year to see how proud we are of our country.
People of all races, from all parts of the world, now call themselves Australian. There are flags flying from utes registered to a rainbow of surnames, and "Howzat!" shouted in a mass of accents.
Despite our White Australia fears, it is this collection of old family and new that has made us strong.
So many people have chosen to make this their home.
Our fear this pride would somehow be watered down by welcoming our friends from around the world has been shown to be groundless again and again. It was not carefully selected white Australians who fought at Gallipoli, or who built our cities.
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It was certainly not just racially curated white Australians who have worked to grow our food, conserve our land, build our industries, and lead us.
We are the sum of people who live here by choice.
Even through fires, floods and now a pandemic, our conviction in our country and each other has stood the test. Even with boundary restrictions, COVID rules and regulations and vaccination certificates, we still have enormous freedom in comparison to so many others.
We are truly lucky.
This Australia Day as we dream about the day we will travel overseas or once again see family who have been unreachable, we need to remind ourselves of our fortune.
We should never whitewash the past. It is what happened. But we can look back on our history and know that we are people who survive.
Marie Low is a freelance journalist based in North West NSW.
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