Saturday, 26 April 2014

We will remember

Taken on Anzac Day 2012, our last in Australia. 

Lil has always remembered and talked a lot about Anzac Day. She remembers the time we lined the street in Byron Bay, sprigs of rosemary proudly pinned on our chests, waving Australian flags as the diggers walked down Johnson St.
Afterwards, Skip joined the end of the parade at the RSL and had a schooner and a toss of the two-up coins, while the kids and I sat on the beach and talked about the meaning behind Anzac Day and the march we'd just seen.

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My grandmother waved off the love of her life from their small NSW country town to the jungles of Papua New Guinea, aged just in her early 20s and three babies at home. I can't imagine what that was like, it must have been desperately awful.

I'm sure to her pure joy he returned home and they had another child. Then a few short years later she lost him again suddenly to an illness he contracted while away fighting.

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In year three we learnt about Gallipoli. I remember being intrigued and horrified all at the same time. I bought a book about Gallipoli at the school book club and read about Lone Pine and Simpson and his donkey. I was fascinated. I remember spending hours imagining what it would have been like to be there, what I would've felt if it had been me on those boats, wading through the water at ANZAC cove. The stories from that book remain with me to this day. I can still see the illustrations in my mind.

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Asking about the significance of Anzac Day, Goosey was worried. "My friend Irem is from Turkey. Did we hurt her family? Will she still like me?"

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I feel incredibly lucky today. I've never had to send someone off to war. Conflicts are something I read about in books or saw in movies. In my 20s I often went to an RSL club on Anzac Day to play two up with friends and diggers. I got to sit and listen to stories from old men about being young men and arriving in Egypt or France or Papua New Guinea. I never got the opportunity to sit with my own grandfather and hear his tales or how he felt, so this was a way to get a glimpse into what that might be like. The diggers were always pleased that a young girl was interested in their stories and happy just to listen as they yarned to each other, for me it was a privilege.

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I have a wonderful family of my own now. They're happy and healthy and we live the most blessed life. We live far away from Australia, but you can't help to take a moment and remember on Anzac Day. Reflect on all the Australian servicemen and their families whose lives have been affected by war and continue to be affected.

We'll make Anzac bikkies, because it's a tradition. It's a small way to involve the kids and keep Australian tradition alive for them. Teach them about the lives of their family, the sacrifices their ancestors made and remind them  how blessed they are. A small way to commemorate.

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Lest We Forget


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