I remember as a little Brownie at the tender age of 8 having to attend the dawn parade on Anzac Day. Back then I didn't really know what it was about, it was just something I had to do cos mum made me. It was cold & usually raining, & don't forget still dark which to an 8 year old is dam scary. And there were old people, lots of old people, dressed up in their finest gears, with medals on their chest, looking really sad. In those days I couldn't quite understand why they look so sad, some of them even wept. If I had medals man I'd be stoked.
Now at 31, I know why they wear medals on their chests & look sad. For our nation & the dwindling returned serviceman from the war, it is a day to remember those that fought for our country & those that fought & perished.
The Last Post played on the french horn is something that to this day sends shivers down my spine. It was also played at my Grandad's funeral when he died. No matter where I am, if I hear it played it always stirs up emotion from deep with in me. Every year the war vets gather on Anzac Day to see less & less of their fellow war mates standing beside them for they are a dying generation.
I watched on the news last night an interview that was done with a very old war veteran. To be honest he didn't really look like he was longed for this earth much longer. I was entranced listening to his horrific memories of his time in the war & I got quite choked up when he started weeping for his friends that never made it back. It was a long time ago to us but they re-live it in their heads like it was only yesterday.
My grandparents have all passed away but my Pop & my Grandad both fought in the war. My Grandad was a cook on a navy boat who jumped ship in New Zealand to be with my Grandmother. He would have been arrested & deported if it wasn't for my Great Grandparents hiding him on their farm in New Plymouth until it was all over. My Poppa had medals. I don't know what they were for because he died before I was old enough to learn about him & his history. If he got medals it's because he did good things. And for that I am truly proud.
Today I take some time to remember those men & women. Respect & honour are dying qualities in our society, dying alongside those war hero's. It's actually very sad. Teach your children about Anzac day when they're old enough to understand. One day in the future when the last post is played, & a wreath is laid at the war memorial sights all over NZ & Australia, there won't be anymore war vets there to see it. Just memories.
Peace & love