Anzac Day is my day to celebrate Australia, even more so than Australia Day. The best part for me is the Dawn Service, most years I have been a part of the service at Birdwood House in Geraldton.
I remember watching D1 and D2 as Guides and Rangers guarding the war memorial. It is usually a crisp morning, a quiet crowd gathered as one in the dawning light to honour the people who have fought for us over the years. I love seeing the young families, Dads carrying toddlers on their shoulders, Mums holding youngsters close, knowing these young children will grow up understanding how important Anzac Day is. I love listening to the Ode, to the trumpet playing the Last Post and Reveille, standing in silent contemplation . And then home to a warm cup of coffee, always feeling blessed to live in such a wonderful country.
Since 2013 I have spent three Anzac Days in Spain but I have always found a way to celebrate the day, and leave a message from Australia.
This year of course is a very different day. I would have been in Spain, again, but instead Papa Bear and I were on the balcony of our beautiful home listening to the Ode and the Last Post, candles flickering in the gentle wind. It was comforting to see our neighbours in their driveway, silhouetted by the lights of their candles.
During the minute of silence I thought about the people who are fighting a very different fight for us, doctors and nurse on the frontline, scientists desperately trying to understand this virus and discover a vaccine, politicians guiding their countries through these times, and I thought of ordinary people like us, living ordinary lives in extraordinary times.
My family in Perth sent a photo of our Grandson’s first Anzac Day, it brought tears to my eyes.
D2 and I messaged about a Dawn service we attended at Kings Park a couple of years ago. One day we will take the youngest members of our family to that service.
After the balcony memorial I made Anzac biscuits and climbed back in bed to read with my cup of tea and warm biscuit.
I hope you all have a great Anzac Day, wherever you are, especially friends in New Zealand who are also celebrating Anzac Day. Keep safe.
For the Fallen
Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), published in The Times newspaper on 21 September 1914.
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
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
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.