This day has had special meaning for me since I went to Gallipoli in 1988.
It was not a tourist destination back then. We had to sweet talk the local military guard to even get on the peninsula. You could wander anywhere. There was shrapnel and bits of bone amongst the heather. The poetic monument, a message from Turkey to the Allied Forces’ families, was incredibly emotional.
Since then I’ve attended Anzac Day parades almost every year. I did it in uniform for 9 years. I’ve taken my sons, they even walked at the head of the Darfield parade one year, as I was the only Navy representative there, and “the Navy is here. Ma’am, lead the parade” I was told by an old salt!
But this morning. I’m not even sure I can find the words to describe my feelings. I wasn’t in uniform. I wasn’t wearing my medal. No colleagues were with me. My sister, bless her, got up with me. I’ve said or listened to those words we all know so well – “age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn…” but this year they held a particularly poignant sense of time and place.
I now know exactly how the parents of all those lovely young men and women felt, who’s sons and daughters have died before their time. Because my Danny will never know the ravages of time, will never get to leave his legacy in deeds and descendants. His memory will be forever young, though we grow old.
Matt and my friends/tenants in Ohope took Danny’s photograph and my medals and did their bit at the front gate. They sent me a gorgeous picture of the two of them rugged up for the occasion. I appreciated that.
We will remember them.