Lest we Forget

ANZAC day is always a very turbulent day for me as I am sure it is for many Australians. Unlike so many Aussies though I don’t have any relatives who have been in the armed forces or fought in a war. It still becomes a day that turns into an emotional overhaul accompanied with overwhelming feelings of gratitude when I think of what generations before me have achieved.

Dawn Service 2014 was even more interesting as I finally understood what my Dad was doing when we visited Albany, Western Australia in 1980.  There’s a photo of him on top of a lookout. His hand up on his forehead to reduce the sun glare – standing tall and proud, defiant even, as he looks “for Turks”.  I was 10 at the time and had no idea what he was going on about! Dawn service 2014 and the significance of Albany was explained as a part of the service. (Perhaps it had in the past but I wasn’t paying enough attention at the time?)  Imagine leaving on a ship and possibly knowing (did they?) that there would be no return.  That the harbour of Albany would be the last safe harbour they would see. I doubt those young boys had any understanding. The world had not seen a war such as the one that they were about to be involved in.

In 1980 we had been in Perth on ANZAC day and had attended the Dawn Service at Kings Park. It was an incredibly powerful service – beautiful surroundings accompanied with words and emotion that at 10 I could finally have some understanding of. For 10 year old Donna it was incredible moving. Amazed at what I was hearing – that there were so many heroes and so many deaths. I had seen the writing on the gates of Vansittart Park in Mt Gambier that said Lest We Forget. Up until that point I didn’t know what I was going to forget …… My jumper? A toy outside? My lunch? Lest I forget what? That gate had always puzzled me. Then in a blast it came to me. Talk about a turning point in my life! That there was so much life and death before me came as a huge surprise. It was, I believe, a point when I became aware of how incredibly significant (and possibly insignificant) I was but also the ability I had to make a difference. All those names on the wall at Kings Park (and at many parks around Australia) define both our significance and our importance.

As humans and as a society we are a very complex twist and blend of thinking we don’t count as an individual and how influential we can be! We can be significant at the time or maybe years later. The power of our words and our actions may seem irrelevant at the time, but we need to need to always remember who is watching and who is listening. Be significant in everything you do because each and every one of us is important in our own way, no matter how big or small that may seem. Whether that be fighting in a battle with the odds against us or simply picking up your rubbish. If everyone works together we can make a huge difference. Individually we have the power to create a change – positive or negative.

As for gratitude it would be impossible to walk away from a Dawn Service without an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the little things in life but also the big things. This year, as with every year, I am grateful to see the sun rise another day. ANZAC Day 2015 will be another reminder to never forget that.

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