Well as this day draws to a close, my thoughts are on tomorrow – ANZAC Day!
As many of you are aware, my Dad has been very ill, and during this time I have spent many quiet moments in thought. One thing that I have thought about is ANZAC Day and what it meant to me as a little girl, in a very small village in NSW, Australia.
My Grandma had seven boys, and hanging in her lounge room were large framed certificates from the Council for each of the boys that served -the three oldest boys. Grandma’s favourite song was Danny Boy and she couldn’t hear it without crying, right up till she passed away. Before all the conflicts were finished, Grandma had 5 of her 7 boys in the forces and thankfully, they all returned safely to her.
ANZAC Day brought a sense of anticipation – it was the one day in the year that I saw my Dad get ‘dressed up’ in a suit and tie – we knew that it was a ‘special’ day! I can remember Dad showing me the way to polish my black shoes while he was preparing his for the march – you don’t have to brush them hard, just keep brushing and keep brushing until they are sooo shiny! This is also when I learnt to tie a tie!!
We would get dressed in our school uniform and walk across to the Community Hall with Dad and I would watch with pride as my Dad took his place among the other men, all similarly attired, and watched as they came to attention. We would all have to line up and the march would start – Left, left, left,right, left…….down through the avenue of trees that had been planted, one for each of the sons who didn’t return from The Great War.
I was saddened recently to hear that the trees had been removed – after all we all know what pests camphor laurel trees are!!! – Wouldn’t you think Council could have made an exception for this little row??
The marchers turned and continued up ‘the main street’ to the Memorial Gates at the local oval/football field/cricket ground where we heard someone important tell us something about the day, we would join in prayer and sing the ANZAC Day songs – They always stirred in me a sense of pride in my country and in the many brave soldiers who fought to keep us safe and free.
How many of you still know the words to The Recessional? Still moves me to tears….
Then the formalities were over and the bugle would sound The Last Post
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
LWe will remember them.
Then it would be off to the oval for an afternoon of sports with all of the men acting as stewards and they would give us all an iceblock – what a day!! A day of remembrance, respect, thanks and celebration!
Now, even though the sound of those shoes on the bitumen is fading, as the men and women, age and pass the lessons they have taught us remain. As we prepare for another ANZAC Day, let us pray for the safety of all of our troops serving in many areas of conflict and for their safe return to their loved ones…..
Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling……