Saturday, April 26, 2008

It was Anzac day yesterday, and we'd planned to make our own little dawn ceremony out at the old air-base near Pirie. Matt had expressed an interest in coming too, so at 5.25 am we went out to pick him up from Bowman's park. It was still very dark and I could see Matt's torch bobbing down the track and the flash of Macca's white ruff. He was very excited to be going with us, and I hoped he'd behave himself later. (The dog, that is.) Our brother Doug and SIL Bev had already left and were waiting for us at the base, near this massive engine from an old plane that serves as a memorial.We set up Keryn's laptop which contained the appropriate recordings and waited in the dim light until the clouds announced the dawn.

Then we played The Last Post and stood in silence for two mins, each thinking our own thoughts. Keryn and I remembered Dad, and Mum's stories about the war and no doubt Doug was thinking of his time in Vietnam and the mates who didn't come back. Then he began to recite the Ode of Remembrance, and we all joined in:

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.

Lest We Forget.

Reveille was played and the sun turned the clouds into fiery bands of rose and gold as the haunting notes of the bugle lingered in the air.
It was incredibly moving and I was so glad that Matt came because it meant a lot to him too. None of my boys ever knew our father, who died when we were children ourselves, but he's very real to them all the same. Matt has read the logbook of his flying hours more than once and heard our stories so many times that I'm sure he feels he knows him too.

And dear Macca, who was very busy and bouncy beforehand, stood through our little ceremony like a statue, head up and staring into the distance as if he too understood what we were feeling. I was very proud of him.
When I came home I wrote this...

Old Airbase, Anzac Day.

At dawn the airfield stretches out unseen,
dim and grey with the ghosts of long-dead men.
The hangers gone, machines all turned to rust
and skeletons of planes dumped in the fields.

From the darkness comes a lonely plover's cry
and in the east the clouds begin to pale.
Faint in the wind I hear the roar of planes
and sweeping over me I sense
the shadow of their wings.


Andrea April 27, 2008  

A really touching post Mereth ! What a special thing to do.

deb April 27, 2008  

Wow! Thanks for sharing - that's amazing.

Anonymous,  April 29, 2008  

I was very moved by your post. Getting up so early, having the music ready- it was a real tribute to those fallen heros. And so many more are falling in the mideast every day.

Oma April 29, 2008  

Thank you for such a beautiful and touching post. My father was in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and now my son will be going to Iraq in October. You have touched my heart.

julieQ April 30, 2008  

I am glad to read your most moving post. Love that comforter in the below post as well!

YankeeQuilter April 30, 2008  

A beautiful and moving post. My Dad was a Navy pilot during WWII. It is hard to imagine that this generation will not get to hear the stories for that war from the heroes themselves.

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