julesjones: remembrance poppy (poppy)
One hundred years since the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps stormed the cliffs of Gallipoli. They weren't the only, or even the largest, group to land. They weren't even all Australians and New Zealanders. But so very many of them were from two small and new nations. And so very many of them didn't come home.

I'm old enough to have watched as some of those who did come home marched on Anzac Days past. Old enough to have seen the days when the Vietnam War veterans didn't march alongside the Great War and the Second World War returned services, because it was still too raw and bitter a memory for them. Old enough to have seen Peter Weir's film on a school outing as part of our history lessons that year, and been in tears on the way out along with my classmates, girls and boys both.

Not old enough to have seen the last of fresh generations to march. But there is also this -- Anzac Day is a symbol of both remembrance and reconciliation. The ones who didn't come home have been looked after all down the years by their former enemies, who lost so many of their own young men. And there are memorials to Ataturk in both Australia and New Zealand. Would that all conflicts could end with such determination to set aside our differences in recognition of our common humanity.

Anzac Day

Apr. 25th, 2013 07:27 am
julesjones: remembrance poppy (armistice day)
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.
julesjones: remembrance poppy (poppy)
Next year no-one will march there at all.

Claude Choles, last known combat veteran of the Great War, has died. There is one remaining veteran, but Choles was the last of those who saw combat.

When I was a teenager, I watched those old men of Eric Bogle's song. Anzac Day parades, with the veterans of too many wars, but the old men who'd lived through the horror of the First World War had pride of place. They would have been mostly in their seventies and eighties then, many of them still fit enough to march, fit enough to snap a sharp salute as they passed the memorial. As I got older, they got older, and fewer. And finally there were only a very few very old men in wheelchairs, most of them still bright and alert but terribly terribly frail. And now there are none.

Yesterday the Great War was still living memory. Today it is history. Alas, there is still a supply of men, old and young, to march in next year's Anzac Day parade.

Anzac Day

Apr. 25th, 2010 11:00 am
julesjones: remembrance poppy (poppy)
95 years ago today.

But the band plays Waltzing Matilda,
And the old men still answer the call
But as year after year, more old men disappear
Some day no one will march there at all.

They are all gone now, those old men I saw march on a late April day, but they are not forgotten.


julesjones: (Default)

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