Easter Monday 21st April
What a way to spend the last day of Easter. We continued to empty the garage and now have the verandah loaded with what was once in the garage. I gernied the garage doors and floors, washed the windows and sliding glass doors and steam cleaned the floor in the back part of the garage. I re-tightened the screws holding the shelving, hung garden tools back where they once hung, lopped more branches off an overhanging tree and cut it into small pieces to be used as landfill on the back driveway. At the end of the day I felt we had achieved something over the weekend and it was certainly more fun than had we been sitting in bumper to bumper traffic for hours on end trying to get home before the other million or so road users were trying to get home before us.
At the end of the day Donnis suggested we could pack some of the empty boxes back in the garage.
Friday 25th April ANZAC DAY en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_Day
Today, completely without planning or the use of an alarm I woke at 4am. I knew by being awake and unable to go back to sleep I would attend the Dawn Service at the Cannonvale Cenotaph.
I arrived just on 5am with the service due to begin at 5.30. On arrival I thought the 200 or so people gathered in the dark was a good crowd.
By 5.30, currently serving military personnel and past service personnel had gathered in ranks in what is best described as a natural amphitheatre. I took my place among the strangers, all of us with medals, ready to “Come to ATENSHUN” and “AT EASE” when called by the appointed ceremonial Sergeant. By now the numbers of attendees had swollen until looking out on the hillside at the sea of faces, visible even in the pre-dawn light, was something unexpected. The quiet conversation rippled along the ranks and the comments were much the same. “I have never seen a crowd as large as this.”
During the ceremony we were reminded of the many theatres of war Australia has attended and that this was the 99th Anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli – the birth of the ANZAC Legend. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_Day
I felt a surge of pride at the numbers of people who turned up at dawn for this ceremony. Even more importantly were the numbers of children and teenagers in respectful manner who attended. When the National Anthem was sung, it was a patriotic crowd who quietly sang along. As the Anzac ode ( www.awm.gov.au/commoration/customs/recitation.asp )was read, at the appropriate times the crowd softly whispered the refrains, We Shall Remember Them and Lest We Forget.
The most well- known lines from ode the are taken from the fourth stanza of a poem, For the Fallen, by Laurence Binyon.
They Shall Not Grow Old, as We That Are Left Grow Old;
Age Shall Not Weary Them, Nor the Years Condemn.
At the Going Down of the Sun and in the Morning
We Will Remember Them.
It was a very emotional ceremony, as it is every year but the part of the ceremony which always makes me feel I have a lump in my throat and salt water wells in my eyes are the words from Ataturk the father of modern Turkey, its first President and an Officer in the Ottoman Army at the time of the conflict in Gallipoli.
Remember Australia and Turkey were at war. As a result of that conflict a great respect and admiration evolved so that by 1934 and as it is today, Turkey and Australia are friends with the friendship – forged in battle, strengthened by mutual ties and respect on land which is sacred to both.
The words by Ataturk are set in a memorial wall at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli.
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in Peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us they lie side by side here in this country of ours…
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in Peace, after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well”
I should mention that at the time those words were written by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, he did not understand the soldiers he fought against were Australian and New Zealand soldiers (with a few French thrown in). He mistakenly believed he was fighting British soldiers, hence the reference to Johnnies. Modern Turkey understands the difference and the Turks are most welcoming and friendly towards Australians and New Zealanders who come to pay their respects. In fact they commemorate Anzac Day themselves as well as attend our ceremonies.
Mid-morning we received a call to say my daughter Averyl was in Mackay Base Hospital so we drove to Mackay to visit. She hopes to be allowed home on Monday. After an hour we could see that she was tiring and we bid her farewell so she could get some sleep.
We then visited the Cenotaph in Mackay where the Anzac Dawn Ceremony and Wreath laying was conducted at …umm err…dawn!
Next we visited sister Sandi and Dave and left late in the afternoon. They had just arrived back from Fiji where they had gone to celebrate our sister Enid’s birthday. Although it is almost a two hour drive we were both tired from a long day of getting up early, emotional ceremonies and visiting Averyl. We took turns driving so I could sleep while Donnis drove but soon Donnis became tired and I took over the driving feeling refreshed after a nap.
Sunday 27th April
Yesterday we decided to make a start on the side of our land where the temporary bamboo screen fence was in a state of collapse. We decided to pull down the fence and replace it with plants which will become a hedge. With the old fence pulled down and the soil had arrived we started the long process of preparing the ground before building a mound of soil in readiness for the plants. Just as the sun was slipping behind the Conway Range we planted most of our hedge plants and will finish the remainder later in the week. For today we are both bone weary and too tired to continue.