Today is Anzac Day, Australia’s day of commemoration of military service. In 1915, Australian and New Zealand troops landed on a rocky beach in Turkey, called Gallipoli Cove. You may have heard of the 100th anniversary in the news.
World War 1 (The Great War) was a big deal for our adolescent country. We became a nation in 1901, and the war matured us. We heard stories of Simpson and his donkey, of great mateship, and things that would become ‘the aussie way’
For years Anzac Day, and later in the year, rememberance day, have been held dear in my heart. I love my country, I think it is the most wonderful place. I may be biased as I have never left it’s shores, but I could never imagine living elsewhere. I am humbled by others who volunteer to protect us, in our armed forces.
I had a conversation with my Mum this evening, discussing our family history. Mum mentioned her grandfather had served in the Army in WW2, in New Guinea as a driver. Mum mentioned that her grandfather never spoke of his time in the Army, but she remembers a photo of him in his uniform that was in her grandparent’s home. I hadn’t known about his military service until today, Pop passed away when I was a child and my great-grandparent’s home was about two hours away so visits weren’t often
I was able to do a quick search on the internet, and find some details of his service. I can request a copy of his service history, but that will take time. I was able to find out some information, such as when he enlisted, when he was discharged, and his rank, and his last posting. I also googled the posting, and his company was sent to qld about the time he enlisted. That company was in New Guinea until the end of the war, less than three months before he was discharged.
With the dates I found, my grandmother would have only been one year old when her Dad joined the army. He was in the army two and a half years. It makes me think of my great-grandmother, raising her daughter. I wonder what life was like during the war?
This morning when I woke up, I knew nothing of my great grandfather’s military service. It makes me wonder how much is lost through the generations, stories about family members, lost in time.
Today I was made more appreciative of our armed forces. For me, it was never this close to home. I was proud of our country, grateful to those whe served, and even more to those families who had made the ultimate sacrifice, whose loved ones never came home. These were all someone else’s stories. The stories I knew were of farmers who looked after our country, those who kept the home fires burning. Today I learned a different story, and I wonder how many stories I am missing, just because I didn’t ask about a family member.
Tonight I am going to sleep wiser, and more curious. I take for granted, on a daily basis, the freedoms the men and women in the military fight for. They have fought for them for over a hundred years. They are still fighting for them. I don’t know how to say thank-you enough to them.
Lest we forget.