Sunday, April 28, 2013

Anzac day and Remembering

We were in Melbourne the day after Anzac Day, and a stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens led us to the Shrine of Remembrance. The little Bowerbird found a piece of rosemary with a poppy and tiny flag attached, it lay fallen on the path, she smelt and treasured it. I wondered whose pocket once held it. I tried to explain a little about war and the importance of remembering. There were wreaths laid at the base of monuments and sprigs of rosemary and poppies placed at the foot of memorial trees. The trees were large and tall, many of the battalions they represented have passed. A tree seems such a fitting way to remember, life goes on, the trunks rings growing as the years pass. The enormous crowd of Thursday was long gone, and there was a stillness and quiet at this huge monument. There was no field of poppies, but red salvias were equally evocative at the base of the shrine, so many names, so much blood spilt. A hedge of rosemary for remembrance.

I always think of my Poppa on Anzac Day, a man who refused to touch tinned soup, who never marched, who knew too much about war, and the loss and pain it caused both there, and when he and his fellow soldiers came back home. So many didn't cope. He didn't like to talk about the war. Poppa should never have had to see war, to be a part of it, no one should. He was a wonderful gentle man who would have been home tending his vegie patch and fruit trees, caring for his large family whom he adored, if it were not for events carried out on a world stage so far from his small country home. I am so privileged not to have seen what he saw, felt what he felt.


On Thursday I heard an interview on Radio National with Anne Wilkes Tucker (follow the link if you would like to listen to it), the curator of a huge photography exhibition that is travelling through the United States, WAR/PHOTOGRAPHYImages of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath ". The exhibition spans 165 years and 28 nations, it took 10 years to curate.

At the end of the interview Anne Wilkes Tucker spoke of visitors reactions to the exhibition (they could write their comments on a wall): "they were heartbroken, not only by what we are capable of doing, but also ...when you see it across time, when you see the same thing happening again, and again, and again, and again, across country, across time, across space, it is sobering and it is saddening".

Lest We Forget


  1. lovely to hear your story about Anzac day and your Poppa. i especially love that magical phot of the remembrance flame.

  2. What a beautiful post. Loved your words.

  3. Thanks for sharing this post...the memories and observations about your Poppa were beautiful. I don't think we can ever understand what they went through....and why we just keep doing it all over again. Lest We Forget indeed xx

  4. We are lucky now to live in a peaceful world without war.
    Some region of Borneo island in our country has been attacked by some people from Sulu and it effect many people living in that area got traumatise. Many kids got scared going to school.

    1. So terrible the children should live in fear doing such an everyday thing, the times are better for many, but not for everyone.


In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
Margaret Atwood

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
"Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young