Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lest we forget

Today, (yesterday in Australian time) was ANZAC Day in Australia, one of the few times a year where my heart aches to be back "home".

ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day was originally a day to remember those who fought at Gallipoli, Turkey (what was the Ottoman Empire) in World War I. It has blossomed into a day of commemoration for all those who served in the Australian armed forces in wars and conflicts the world over.

On this day, thousands of people gather at dawn services all over Australia to pay tribute to those who served. Both of my wonderful grandfathers, one of whom I never met but have come to know and love through the spirit and character he instilled in my father, served in World War II.

The dawn service in Melbourne, Australia (my home town)
The War Memorial in Melbourne, Australia
There are few things to say or do that seem appropriate when tragedies like Boston occur. But each year that goes by, the ceremonies, traditions and words spoken at memorials for such tragedies, become more finely honed. After some time, they eventually evolve to the point where they perfectly capture the moment and the intended sentiment of the event.

For ANZAC Day, these traditions have come to include the playing of the Last Post, by a haunting, solitary bugle, a moment of silence, and the last stanza of the Ode to Remembrance:
They shall grow not 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.  
Today, a day in which I was preoccupied by being happy to have run a great tempo, wondering if I should wear a dress or pants to the office, becoming anxious about work piling up on my desk, getting annoyed because I left my keys at home, being happy to see temperatures climb in the 60s in NY, and being concerned about whether I'm getting enough calcium in my diet.... I'll stop for a moment. I'll take a moment to remember them.

Lest we forget.

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