Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We will remember them.
As the ANZACS landed they met fierce fighting from the Turks. Both sides suffered huge losses, Australia lost 8000 men. Many of these were young lads, so keen to go to war, they had put up their ages to enlist. To them, war and defending their country was a big adventure - little did they know of the tough conditions ahead, living in trenches, enduring cold wet conditions or heat and dust, not to mention diseases. I remember my grandmother having a photo of four lads from one family in uniform (her cousins), I don’t know if they all returned.
On ANZAC day we commemorate the lives of not only Australians and New Zealand soldiers who fought in 1914-18 war, but WW2, Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan veterans who have given their lives for their country.
Services are held in every town, in their Memorial Halls or other memorials, wreaths are laid and soldiers march. In Violet Town we always had a service with representatives from returned soldiers and local churches. The services always followed the same order - hymns and prayers, wreath laying, a minutes silence and the haunting last post and the rousing reveille, and always our national anthem. Red poppies and rosemary, which grew wild on the Gallipoli Peninsula, formed part of the ceremony.
When in Melbourne I attended the Shrine commemoration. It was very moving and impressive, with large numbers in attendance to see the returned soldiers march up St Kilda Road.
For the first time, this year there were no public services due to COVID19, but lots of informal street observances of the occasion, and TV services without attendees. We have not forgotten, and the youth of our country will carry on the tradition.
Lest we forget.
April 25 2020