Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Our Local

It's not a time of celebration or glorification of War.
It doesn't honour the aggressors or the victors.
It is a time of remembrance, of respect, of contemplation of the Human cost of War.
It puts a name to the statistics.

My Grandad was on the beach at Gallipoli and the trenches at the Somme. He lost three brothers in this 'War to end or wars' and never, in my memory, went on any Anzac march. I don't blame him for that - why would any sane human want to remember and relive this most tragic and terrifying experience. He did come back though - permanently changed by what he had experienced but still alive and in one piece.

Today we went to the little service in our local park and stood in the rain and mist for an hour while the service was held. It was brief and to the point. References were made to the futility of many of the battles that were fought with such tragic outcomes. The crowd was small but composed of a true cross section of the community- kids, teenagers, grandparents, all there for one thing - not to forget.

At the end of the service the Ladies of the local Croquet and Lawns Bowls Associations put on refreshment - as they do. There was Anzac biscuits and freshly baked date scones and egg sandwiches, all the traditional fare of such events. The kids had cordial and Orange drink while the adults drunk cups of tea poured from huge teapots.

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M-H said...

I think it has often been the most thoughtful and sensitive men who have refused to take part in Anzac Day - two of my uncles were force-marched through the western desert and interred by the Italians in WWII. They never went to an Anzac Day march. As a result the RSL/RSA has often been fronted by aggressive and nasty men who acted as if they Own The Day (and all the significance of it), and that put my generation off. In my maturity I've come to understand more of how this has all operated in Aus and NZ.

Lynne said...

Thank you for the birthday wishes on my blog. I have tried to establish a "routine" for ANZAC commemoration in the morning and birthday celebrations in the afternoon but yesterday was a little bit special!

mehitabel said...

Thank you for reminding me. I was privileged to spend ANZAC Day 1988 in and around Sydney, participated in ceremonies at the elementary school where my hosts taught. On the day itself there was an early service in the Hawkesbury, and then we rode the train downtown to cheer on "our" band. I thought the parade in Sydney was very moving, beginning with the riderless horse (from the Boer War, I think?) and the oldest men in trucks and taxis, to the youngest vets. I wish that my country would commemorate the brave folks who served in the same respectful way.