Anzac Day

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,

We shall remember them.

Those words are from the Ode, taken from Laurence Binyon’s 1914 poem For the Fallen, and recited all over the world on Anzac Day, 25 April.

I have nothing but admiration for the many families with young children who attended a Dawn Service today.  We did not, although as I comforted Fainjin from a nightmare at 3:30 this morning, I briefly toyed with the idea.  I hope that those brave and patriotic parents were rewarded with peaceful afternoon naps, not screaming mid-afternoon meltdowns (well, we can all dream, right?).

My family, as far as I know, did not lose anyone at Gallipoli.  A great-uncle died at Passchendaele, though, along with the majority of NZ’s WWI casualties (I believe).

Many things impress me on Anzac Day.  Those parents and young children, and the elderly, and the ones in between,  who turn out at 5:30am every year, often in the pouring rain, to pay their respects.  The ever-increasing crowds at services and commemorations.  The fact that, although several retailers flout the law to trade on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, it would be unthinkable to open before 1pm on Anzac Day.  The generosity and sensitivity of the Turkish people, who remember with us and tolerate annual (much more peaceable, but doubtless disruptive) re-invasions of young Australians and New Zealanders.  The number of places NZ defence personnel serve, especially in peace-keeping roles,  putting themselves at risk for the lives of others.

I think an afternoon tantrum or three is probably a fair return for recognising all that.  And I’d like my three little half-Kiwis, half-Australians, to learn about this part of their heritage, shared by both parents.

Perhaps next year we will go.

Lest We Forget.

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