Lest We Forget

It’s ANZAC* day today. I didn’t want to get up early because I’m feeling far from great right now, but my nine year old daughter wanted to go to the Dawn Service with Grampy and Uncle Paul, so up I got, and woke her I did. And, against all better judgement, stayed up.

I can’t complain. Not today. Not when I’m sitting here in my warm dressing gown in my warm house with my warm ugg boots and my warm cup of tea. I’m not in a muddy trench. My life isn’t threatened, nor my country.

THe first ANZAC Day march, Brisbane, 1916 (Wikimedia commons)

THe first ANZAC Day march, Brisbane, 1916 (Wikimedia commons)

I went to a funeral on Monday for my mother-in-law’s uncle Tom. I didn’t know him that well, but he was a wonderful, wonderful man, and I wish I had known him better. He wasn’t yet born when this picture was taken, but he fought in World War 2. A man from his local RSL branch spoke at his funeral, and they laid poppies on his coffin.

I was at Uncle Tom’s house once, years and years ago, and he mentioned he’d fought in the war, in Papua New Guinea. Me, being me, and being probably too young at that time to really know any better, asked him “What was that like?”. He couldn’t talk about it, not then, not over a cup of tea and a biscuit some fifty odd years after the fact. I learned a lot that day, simply from that.

I learned that I may never understand.

All I can say is “thank you”.

*For my non-Aussie readers, ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. ANZAC day, 25th April, marks the tremendous sacrifice of life at Gallipoli, Turkey, in 1915. I believe the last of the old Diggers have died now, but we keep the tradition, remembering those who fought in all the battles, right up to the present one. Lest we forget.


8 thoughts on “Lest We Forget

  1. It’s so important to keep the memory alive, not only for the memory of the dead, but for the sake of the living world they sacrificed to preserve.

    It’s so important to be remembered. There’s a special kind of hell, being left behind by a fast-moving society, left to commune with ghosts. I know this quite well.

    In the US, we don’t really have that depth of tradition or feeling. I wish we did; The heterogeneity of our population is probably a factor, but there’s something else – something has been lost in our national soul.

    Thank you, on behalf of all who gave their all, and for those who gave even more.

    • Yes, a fast-moving and disposable and INSTANT society. This is why I’m a fan of history. I don’t like the idea of the forgotten ones either.

      That’s an interesting comparison between here and the US with the tradition and feeling. I have a pocketful or so of American friends on Facebook, and from that I’d presumed that Remembrance Day was a similar kind of thing. Maybe not. There’s so much you presume about other cultures that turn out to be wrong, just projections of your own culture onto theirs. Fascinating. But sad that the remembering isn’t there.

  2. We celebrated St George’s day on 23rd April, it is also famously,William Shakespeare’s birthday, we celebrated St George the defender and protector, and remembered all those who have trod in his steps in defence of loved ones.

    • Wow, I didn’t know that. It’s so easy to think of Australia as just a shadow of English culture, and it’s always interesting to hear about things like that, that are new. Happy St. George’s day!

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