I didn't go to the dawn service this year. No particular reason other than my wife and kid being interstate and I couldn't sleep last night. Mid morning I decided to go for a bike ride and stopped at the park where they had the service to pay my respects. This is where the story starts:
I came across this elderly fella, doing much the same as me: observing and marking our respects in silence. After a few moments he asked me if I lost any family member at war and I told him no. I returned the question and was amazed with what this gentleman shared.
He started to tell me the tale of his great-uncle, who had served in the western front and eventually lost his life there. He was moving from one location to another when their battalion was attacked. It turned out that a bomb went off near them and his great-uncle was injured and covered by the debris. He could not be rescued alive.
He proceeded to tell me his great-uncle was not married, had no children, and events in his life before war are unclear to him. This elderly fella knew he was most likely the last human being remembering his great-uncle's sacrifice. He told me that every year he stops and thinks about his uncle, and I'm sure he has a drink in his honour so today I'm doing the same!
As I said in previous opportunities, I wasn't born in this country. Today, people like this gentleman make me very proud to call myself Australian.
Lest we forget.
GONE - Forester XT Auto - MY07 with all the goodies
Now occasionally driving a Ford barge...
As a Vietnam Vet I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post above.
brought a tear to my eye and made me very proud, it is people like you that we want in our country.I wasn't born in this country. Today, people like this gentleman make me very proud to call myself Australian.
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Shame I can't say the same about mine. For a long time now my brother and I "swag it" on the side of Mt Macedon for the Dawn Service. This year my brother couldn't be there and a mate we've been asking for years could t make it either. Disappointingly I made the decision not to go.
So instead we took the whole family (in Ruby Scoo!) to Kyneton where I had the privilege to be the cetertafe guard one year in cadets when they started doing a dawn service again. I thought this would be a good intro for the boys.
Well it was t really. They moved it inside the small mechanics hall beside the memorial where at least half the gathering didn't fit. Many of us stood around the memorial wondering why it wasn't outside rain hail or shine. I heard an old digger say the same thing.
We managed to hear the bugle and that was it. All up it was 17 minutes or there abouts. It took us longer to drive there!
One thing I really missed hearing is the Ode of Remembrance.
I'm hoping next year is much more like a traditional rain hail or shine dawn service.
Lest we forget.
I lost a direct family member during WW1 in France and thanks to the internet I have been able to trace their headstone with photos and other details in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
ANZAC day here in Muswellbrook NSW this year was brilliant. It ran as usual for about an hour with much involvement and speaking from local schools and other military guest speakers. There is one sound that always makes the skin on the back on my neck stand up and this the sound of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine which is fitted to the P51 Mustang that does the fly over (2 laps) of the service each year. This year we also handed out ANZAC biscuits for the first time via the Girl Guides after the service and this went down great.
I was born in the early 60's, my father served with Catalina's straight after WW2 in the RAAF at Rathmines on Lake Macquarie, my mother was German and had to deal with being bombed in Berlin and fighting for her life during the war so the military was a focus for the my father as I grew up (not my mother though, guess not the memories she wanted to remember).
I didn't start going to ANZAC day services till about 15 years ago when the first of our kids were born. Priorities and values changed instantly so I felt it important pay my respects in some small way. I always respected what ANZAC day meant though regardless.