Monday, April 25, 2011

Another post about The Last Post

I was sitting here, preparing to write a post about ANZAC Day. Day of remembering. We watched the parade at Mum and Dad's house, kids waving flags from the driveway. Then I remembered that it was pretty much a carbon copy of last year, so I scrolled back to read what I'd written. You know what? I really liked it. It says everything I want to say. So I'm saying it again.

Today was ANZAC Day. Day of Remembrance. Day of marching. Day of The Last Post.
The Last Post is one of the saddest pieces of music ever written. It brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. Particularly when played inexpertly at school assemblies. There is something about the random squeaks and blasts produced by a teenage bugler that conjures up for me the endless baby faces of young soldiers.

The bugle at Mr6’s school ANZAC Day service last Thursday (Friday was a dreaded Pupil-Free Day so we had to get in early) was played by a young man from the local high school. He had the windswept supermodel hair that defines his generation, an earnest expression and a bit of difficulty with the high notes. He reduced me to blinking back tears.

Beside me, on the asphalt, behind the colony of school hats carefully paying attention under the principal’s nose, was an elderly gentleman. Someone’s Grandfather. Who stood to attention through the entire service. Stiff, upright, proud.

He reduced me to tears proper.

Today we took the boys and some friends visiting from The Big Smoke over to my mum’s house to watch the march. Every parade of any description for the past 30 years has stomped past my parents’ house. Our friend C remarked that she’d never actually been to an ANZAC Day parade that went past someone’s house before. In the city, it requires two train changes and a packed lunch to attend the march. Here, we munched on homemade ANZAC biscuits in the driveway and waved to the veterans as they went past – many of them in taxis.

One of the reasons that I love ANZAC Day is those beaming faces in those taxis. It’s the one day of the year when our oldest citizens feel all the warmth our community can bestow. When we remember that they were young once. I know that the Day is about remembering fallen soldiers, but I love that it’s also about remembering (and acknowledging) the ones that survived.

Afterwards, we retired to the Fibro for a barbecue. We had a few drinks, ate some sausages, shared some stories and lots of laughs. The children rampaged around the garden like Wild Things. After a few wines, I found myself wondering if perhaps we shouldn’t be a little more… reverent.

But then I thought, no. What were all those young men fighting for if not for their children and their children’s children to enjoy the freedom of an afternoon just like the one we enjoyed today.

Lest we forget.

This year, there were fewer smiling faces waving from taxis. There were, however, many more school children marching (well, approximating marching) up the street. Solemn little faces doing their best to honour the memories of our Diggers. Right before they reverted to Wild Things. 

21 comments:

  1. Exactly. You're exactly right. This is what I tried to say in my post today...but I don't think it resonated like this xxx

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  2. Hello
    New follower and reader. Very well said. Yes, the last post gets me everytime.

    We used to live in a fibro. Renovated and moved on. Very much miss it.

    Have a lovely week.

    xo jill

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  3. Awe. Very touching; lovely.

    The best part of ANZAC day I loved was being able to eat 1/2 a bag of ANZAC cookies guilt-free - the ones dipped in chocolate on the bottom too, not the plain ones! Oh, how I miss those cookies.

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  4. A beautiful post and as I wasn't in the blogging world this time last year, I appreciate the chance to reflect on last year's post also. I agree wholeheartedly, whilst we will always remember and respect the fallen, it's testament to them, that we enjoy this wonderful life of freedom we are honoured with. Thanks to their sacrifices.

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  5. I love seeing how solemn the kids get. It's my fervent wish that none of them every has to know what war is like.

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  6. Oh, the Last Post does that to me too ... I heard it today coming from my neighbour's TV while I was feeding my little boy lunch and we had a few moments of silence ... even the small boy. My (non-Aussie) husband really doesn't "get" Anzac Day but I hope our little one will.

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  7. They read the ode of rememberence and played the last stand at my uncle's funeral (WWII veteran) and that did in all the old men standing so proudly...which in turn reduced me to tears. I can't stand by and see the proud soldiers crying without being overcome.
    This post was most definitely worth the rewind.
    thank you for sharing it.
    xxxCate

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  8. Hi Allison,

    Thankyou for reading my post and I am glad to you liked it.

    " know that the Day is about remembering fallen soldiers, but I love that it’s also about remembering (and acknowledging) the ones that survived."

    These are the lines that really loved while reading your post.

    Takecare

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  9. My favourite paragraph was:

    But then I thought, no. What were all those young men fighting for if not for their children and their children’s children to enjoy the freedom of an afternoon just like the one we enjoyed today.

    thanks for sharing.

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  10. That's a lovely post - so very well put. Remembering is indeed both about the departed and lucky ones who survived - like my two grandfathers for instance, who I am very proud of.

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  11. Thank you for stopping by! I really do appreciate your taking the time to leave a comment...I read each and everyone of them. I hope your day is a good one and that you will come back again soon. Take care. Nelson Souzza :)

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  12. Twas lovely. I had no idea there were these smaller marches in smaller towns. Glad you shared this again.
    Michelle

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  13. Sounds like a lovely time with your family!

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  14. Our nearest big town has a parade too, but its the service in the park that reduces me to a wet mess. I agree, the saddest song. Beautiful post for remembering, thank you. x

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  15. It does the same to me too, and the Going Down of the Sun ditty - I heard it each week at Rotary Meetings when I was a teenager. Goosebumps.
    Rach x

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  16. Well said. Lest we forget
    xx

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  17. Yep, I always cry when I hear the Last Post, it is just one of those songs. Each year there are less and less of the original diggers. I hope we never stop remembering the ones lost, the ones who survived and the families left here supporting them while they fought for us.

    Thanks for recycling your post, it deserved a rerun on this special day.

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  18. The last post always makes me cry too, wonderful post :)

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  19. this is a beautiful post - i am glad you re-shared it as I would have missed it

    I love the connection you made between the children playing the Last Post and the children that went off to war. This bought tears to my eyes

    Gill xo

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  20. "It’s the one day of the year when our oldest citizens feel all the warmth our community can bestow. When we remember that they were young once."

    nostalgia kills me. When I can see youth in the eyes of an older person, I am reduced to tears. not sure why, maybe it's the beauty.

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  21. I too share your view on ANZAC Day and also the "rewinding" of a previously written piece. I've always treasured my own pilgrimage to Gallipoli and the (unpublished) piece I'd penned. Re-reading it and letting it see the light of cyber space has also reignited my love for this most sacred of days.

    Lest we should ever dare to forget..

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