Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lest We Forget...

Early this morning (very early!) I travelled to the small town where I grew up to attend the dawn service with my family.
After a stirring and heartfelt address by a retired female soldier, a vetran of East Timor and Iraq, I welled up at the mere thought that the first two notes of the Last Post were about to issue from the bugle (as always).
The crowd was large for such little town, and even the kids at the front were silent and respectful in the cool darkness. What is it about Anzac Day that speaks to us regular folk, so far removed from the theatres of war by distance and time? For me, one look at my grandfather Ted, proudly displaying his medals on his neatly pressed suit, explains it all.
The look in his eyes, of pride and happiness mixed with such sadness and loss, is at the heart of why I feel so much emotion today.
As a member of the 9th Division, he was one of the "Rats of Tobruk" during WWII, as well as serving in other campaigns.
During the Tobruk seige in 1941, more than 3000 Australian soldiers were killed and nearly 1000 were taken prisoner.
The fact that he, and other brave young men like him, put themselves in harm's way on the other side of the world to safeguard their families and way of life back home makes me very proud and thankful. I am glad that he has this day to talk and laugh with his brothers in arms, to reminisce and share stories with the only people who really 'know', and to be shown the respect deserved by someone willing to lay down his life for the ideal of freedom, however we feel about the concept of war.
So 'thanks' to all our servicemen and women, past and present, doing their best for us in a less than free and less than ideal world.
You don't have to have fought in a war to love peace. - Geraldine A. Ferraro
Lest We Forget.

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