Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


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.

Lest We Forget

 Last week I felt that I couldn't afford the taxi fares to go to the ANZAC Day dawn service in Kings Park, but yesterday I decided that I could, after all. So I've had a bit of a surreal morning - I left the house at 5am after about 4.5 hours' sleep, got back at 8am and went back to bed until midday. My body isn’t really sure what time it is!

The ceremony took place at Kings Park, an area of botanical gardens and natural bush that sits atop Mount Eliza, overlooking the city centre. Click here and scroll down to ‘State War Memorial Precinct’ for some images of the Cenotaph and the Flame of Remembrance, and you can check out some of the other memorials in the park too.

The service was magical. I’ve been to ANZAC services before – even participated in one as a schoolchild – and they all follow pretty much the same sequence, but the atmosphere of this one was just so special. It was incredible to stand there in the chilly dark with literally tens of thousands of others – veterans, current service people, and just-plain-folk like me – first watching war documentaries on big screens set up for the purpose, then watching the ceremony itself at the State War Memorial Cenotaph.

The playing of the Last Post wasn’t the best I’ve ever heard – there were several trumpets and I think it’s better with just one – but it was still deeply moving.

I don’t have any ANZAC war dead to remember, but my two Australian great-grandfathers were both ANZACs in WWII – Ernest was in the army and Kenneth was in the air force – and they are both gone now. And of course my non-Australian relatives were deeply affected by the war, in England, in Czechoslovakia, and in the then Dutch East Indies.

I don’t believe war is ever right or good, and I don’t support our leaders’ decisions to drag us in to some of the conflicts that Australia has been involved in. But when it comes down to it, rightly or wrongly, the lost service people of Australia died doing what they thought had to be done, and that’s all that matters. Regardless of my opinion of war, I do honour their sacrifices.


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