Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Anzac Day 2011

After surfing with the ghosts of my father and brother yesterday, a few of us took my mum to the Kawana Waters ANZAC Day service. It was a public holiday in these parts - a day where we honour those who perished in war and give thanks to all those who returned from war after sacrificing their youth and their health - both physical and emotional. We also remembered war widows like my Mum who married and cared for the returned servicemen in an era when there was no such thing as counselling.
It was heartening to hear the efforts of the next generation, too - the local primary school band; a couple of poems about Anzac Day from some of the local high school students and the haunting bugle tune The Last Post played by a grommet of about nine. As dignatories, old chaps in suits and war widows like my Mum rolled out of the little surf club sheltering us from the rain, we placed a small white wooden cross with all the wreaths in memory of my late father, who penned these words many years after he returned from war:
"My parents came to the Depot to pick me up, along with my hammock and kit bag. I was grateful they left me with my thoughts. The immediate days after my demobilisation were quite strange and seemed surreal and I. like a great number of ex-servicemen only felt at ease when in the company of other ex-servicemen. I well remember sitting in the middle of  our back lawn at Kedron yarning with a friend who had been a P.O.W. We would all automatically stop talking if someone came who was not a returned serviceman."
"From the time I went away as a 17 and a half year old eager, bright eyed and bushy-tailed teenager, till the time I returned to civilian life as a 22 and a half year old sadder and wiser young man, I had enjoyed a comradeship that is borne out of complete trust. "My life is in your hands. Your life is in my hands." That comradeship continues today."
BIG Thanks Dad. And Mum.

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