Anzac Day, Sydney, 2016.

28 April 2016

Anzac Day. Alarms break our sleep at 4am. Lights flick on. Homes come to yawning life. Cars loaded with young and old drive out, lights on, towards the closest cenotaph and ceremony. Then the quiet wait begins. The wait for that tinge of light just before the dawn. That tinge of light that led the ANZACs to the wrong bay on that foreign shore in 1915. Then martial commands break the quiet, feet move in unison and, as the dawn breaks, the solemn act of respect and remembrance begins. 

Dawn for us was at Windsor, NSW.

I was one among many.

The face of a local hero.

Medals on the left conferred on the wearer; medals on the right conferred on deceased family forebears.

Then, after breakfast provided by Windsor RSL, we gather to travel by train to the city march. The big march.

In Martin Place, we pass evidence of the city's dawn service

and the crowds who are gathering to march.

I join the crowd who line Elizabeth Street to say, "Thanks" and give acknowledgement to those who have served and do serve to keep our freedom and our peace.

There are bands, of course, beating out patriotic songs, songs of nationhood and songs from war time.

I am fine until I hear a war song my mother used to sing to me and tears trickle down my face.

My father and his brothers went to war, young farm boys, innocent, patriotic and naive.

One brother didn't come home; killed days before the war ended.

One came home from Changi POW camp; no longer innocent and naive.

They were probably classed as a "lucky" family, but none who go to war are "lucky".

It is a march like no other.

A march of the wise and proud.

Of groups united by common experiences.

And of current serving members.

Anzac Day, from dawn to dusk, a day of respect and remembrance.

Were you up before the dawn?

Has your family been affected by war?

Did you attend your local ceremonies?

How does your nation say "Thanks"?

See you again next week.

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