Today is ANZAC Day, when we remember those who served in our military forces in wars ranging from as far away as Gallipoli to as close as Darwin. We remember those who gave their lives, and those whose lives were changed forever.
All around the country people were up before dawn, gathering at cenotaphs and shrines. Here in Melbourne, with the rain bucketing down in the chill dark, veterans, serving members of the ADF, relatives, school groups, and people who simply felt moved to be present stood in silence. Then, as The Last Post was played, the rain let up for one brief moment.
Today’s parades will echo that first march by Australian and New Zealand veterans in England. My own youngest children and their Grade 6 class will march for the first time with the 2nd 14th Battalion. They were so excited and yet so aware of how serious this is that – for the first time in their lives – they begged to be allowed to go to bed early.
In many small towns, the names of those who served are read out to honour them. I’d like to do the same on The Conscience Vote today, and so I’ll start with members of mine and my husband Brett’s families. Even though my family history is spotty at best, I have their names.
I invite any commenter to add the names of their loved ones who served in any war, past or present, on any side. Anti-war diatribes or partisan politics posted in comments will be immediately deleted, however. Today is about remembrance.
Private John Edward Bassett, 55 Anti-Aircraft Regiment. My maternal grandfather, who survived the 1942 Darwin bombings.
Harold Humphries, RAAF. My great-uncle, shot down and killed in action.
Private Albert Humphries, 2nd AIF. My great-uncle, captured by Japanese forces. We believe he died on the Burma-Thailand Railway.
Corporal Laurence Arthur Weaver, 2/2 Australian Malaria Control Unit. My paternal grandfather, who served in the Battles of Morotai and Borneo.
Peter Weaver, Royal Australian Infantry. My uncle, who served in Vietnam.
Nicholas Elliott, British Marine Medical Corps. Brett’s paternal great-grandfather, who served at the Battle of the Somme.
Carmello Azzopardi, RAN. Brett’s maternal great-grandfather, who served in the Battle of Jutland and on the HMS Ajax.
Dean Azzopardi, RAN. Currently posted to Cairns.
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.