This year there was no cannon sounding, no lone bugler playing the Last Post; this year there was no local dawn service. But not for one second did that diminish the chance for hundreds of thousands of Australians to pay their respect in honour of our veterans. Whether it was quietly in their homes or driveway, or in Noble Street with a drummer walking down the middle of their street, or at Ballandean on the back of a horse dressed in fully military uniform, or at the end of a cul de sac at Pavillion Drive with a bonfire and flag flown at half mast; never was the Australian spirit these men and women made famous, more evident than this morning.
IT MAY NOT HAVE BEEN A NORMAL ANZAC MORNING, BUT IT COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE FITTING
It is 105 years since terrified young men scrambled onto the Gallipoli peninsula under the heavy fire of Turkish machine gunfire. Putting into words how I feel about Anzac Day is no easy task.
I honestly believe there are not enough words in the English language that adequately speak to the enormous sacrifice, the enormous courage, the enormous pride or the enormous sense of mateship that surrounds this day. We all know the story of our Anzac’s, the day our troops landed at Gallipoli and the day our nation came of age.
We have all seen the movies, the documentaries, the television shows. We have studied the history of war at school. We can recite the losses and the acts of heroism. Factually speaking, there is very little we don’t know.
But every year in the lead-up to Anzac Day I hear those few critics. Those who believe these battles were all fought in vain.
My husband’s grandfather fought and survived Gallipoli. My grandfather and grandmother both served in WW2 with the Royal Australian Air Force. For my family, and for so many others across this region, Anzac Day holds a very special space in my heart and so to hear one negative statement against our veterans is the ultimate insult.
For me, Anzac Day is a day of remembrance. It is a day to not glorify war but to remember the ultimate sacrifices that were made. It is our chance, as a nation, to say thank you for the very freedoms we enjoy today.
Anzac Day should never be complicated. It is very simply our chance to never forget.
So, this morning as my husband and I stood quietly it the middle of our property, we lit a candle and listened by radio to the reading of the oath and the playing of the last post. And as the sun rose over our beautiful Australian landscape and the birds greeted another new day, we each took our chance to say thank you to all those sons and daughters, past and present, who encompass the Anzac spirit, which at this moment in time we all need, of courage, endurance, humour, ingenuity, and mateship.
It may not have been normal, but the memory of today will forever hold a special place in my heart – Lest We Forget.