Men - o - remembrance


Today is ANZAC day.  This is the Australian and New Zealand day of  remembrance for military men and women who have given their lives in service of the country.  I always appreciated the November 11 'Poppy Day' in the UK, but I must be honest and say that it wasn't until I experienced my first ANZAC dawn service that I truly understood how important such ceremonies are in the lives of the survivors of war.


 I have had the great and humbling opportunity to be of service myself to old soldiers and air force men.  There is nothing more moving than to hold the hand of one who walked the Kokoda trail as he relates the physical challenges it set them; their feet lost in layers of fungus, their skin erupted from bites and stings and aggravated by the intense jungle conditions.  To find the once hardened soldier grasping your fingers and crying full tears (after who knows how long) as he talks of the friends who died in his arms.

Then to hear the pilot's story of the shock of the Darwin bombings - how they couldn't quite believe it was happening.  How he and others had gone up to a PNG posting then and found that it was not so much the danger in the air that they had to fight, as the environment and their own selves.

To listen to the real experiences, face to face, has been one of the most amazing, daunting, harrowing yet heartening privileges of my life.  A most special memory is of "Sergeant L".  There was a moment on that ANZAC day when I went to check on him and found him watching the parade on television with tears rolling down, that I knew I had to push him a little in order to bring some healing.  He admitted even his own son did not know about some horrific events and, as he felt his end was drawing near, he wanted to release the burden.  So I sat and listened.  I will not share those things with you.  That would be disrespectful of his confidence, but also inappropriate for this particular blog. 

War is bitter.  War is miserable.  War brings out the animal in men.  However, war can also bring out the very best of the human spirit.

This is never more apparent than in the recovery that must take place following it.  "Sergeant L" had managed to live a pretty decent life, with a loving and understanding wife and three wonderful children.  He had made a business which his son took over and there were grandchildren too.  But the wounds were deep. 

His burden shared,  three weeks later, we 'fare welled' "Sergeant L".

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we shall remember them.
Lest We Forget.


(Pictures obtained from Google Images)

2 comments:

  1. A moving and thought-provoking post, Yamani. I'm always particularly saddenend when I think of the Australian and New Zealand troops who came halfway round the world to fight in a war in defence of the Old Country almost 100 years ago now. So much suffering in both wars.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hari OM
    Quite so. Such horror man visit upon Man.

    ReplyDelete

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