- They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
- Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
- They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
- They fell with their faces to the foe.
- 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.
Today is a day which every Australian, new or old, stops for a moment; they think of the lives that were lost, the lives that came home, and the lives that came home ruined.I start every ANZAC day at 4am. I get up, Put more clothes on than I will probably need, and make a pilgrimage to the local war memorial. I stand there for the dawn service, surrounded by my family, who all create a wind buffer for my ANZAC grandfather. We spend just 20 minutes a year, so not a big sacrifice, in the bitter cold; we stand tall and proud, not just of my Pop who wears his medals upon his aged chest, but of all the service men and women who work and sacrifice their lives to keep our Country safe.
I always shed a tear at the Last Post. I am now while it’s playing on the computer. This bugle sound is more than a few notes put together in a pleasing tune: It is the sound that called men and women to their deaths, and it is the sound that we use to acknowledge them and their sacrifice and what they gave so we could live in the Australia we do today.
I may not always be happy with my Country, and I may not always like the way we have headed – but I am always so proud of our Army Troops, our Diggers, our long passed Rats of Tobruk. It took me a long time (I was 19 before I first went to a Dawn Service – and it changed my view completely) to realise the amount of respect, dignity, honour and appreciation that our Diggers deserve. They perform a job from which they may not return so I can sit on my back porch and speak English.
In WW1, Australians paid a heavy price. We had a population of less than 5 million and 416,809 men enlisted. Of that 416,809, over 60,000 were killed and 156,000 were wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner. As it was for a lot of countries, it was the most costly War in terms of casualties. Almost 10% of our Nations population suited up in camouflage, kissed their families and sweethearts good bye and left proudly, excitedly, and above all, honourably.
In WW2, between 3 September 1939 – 30 June 1947, There were 39366 Australian military deaths and 735 civilian deaths. Our population was roughly 6 million, and 2 million soldiers signed up. 33% of our population fought for our freedom, again.
Today, I sit here and I give thanks, appreciation, and several tears for the men and women who helped save our country, who died for our country, and who continue to strive for the Peace most humans want.
Today, I sat and just looked at my Pop, and my heart broke for the children, grand children, and families of those who weren’t as lucky as my family was.
Lest We Forget.