Preparing for the Morning Service this Anzac Day by Remembering 2013
We are approaching another Anzac Day here in Australia. A day where we remember. By way of remembering I was asked to go over what I said at our local gathering two years ago. What follows is a paste of my words at the Morning Service that follows the march.
Anzac Day Morning Service 2013
Earlier today we gathered in the dawning light and remembered our brave Anzacs.
Now, approaching the noontide of our day
We have moved on.
Like pilgrims, or like soldiers marching, we come to rest at a further spot.
After our brave Anzacs valiantly served us in what we called the ‘Great War’, we sent some Again…. later.
In the Second World War, our people excelled once more.
The Kokoda legend began and many people still travel that track.
But the ones who originally blazed that trail
How did their boots fall upon the duckboards?
Or how did they slip in the muddy mire
As the tropical sun and pests beset them?
Did they feel something of the ancient Israelites leaving Egypt
But traveling to a new land with foes nearby.
We hear some stories, but not all.
My mother’s uncle,
A supply soldier in New Guinea, seldom spoke of his tour of duty.
War saw new developments in this conflict
As technology advanced the bombs borne by sea and air,
The guns shattering the silence, the cities and the sanctuaries.
Farming families of Europe
After centuries of sieges
On their grass and in their barns
Again saw their fields and pastures invaded by the machines of war
As they became battlegrounds for territory
resting places of the fallen,
Atolls of asylum for shot down pilots.
Mighty cities near the ocean
We’re massacred in moments of mushroom cloud.
Pens and prisoner of war camps
Housed slave labour for rail lines in tropical paddies in icy tundras.
Back home families continued on coupons,
And mothers at times had to be fathers for their children as well,
Not knowing if the fathers would even come home,
And the state they would arrive in if they did come back to their families.
The home front were consigned to waiting
Yet their anxious wait gave energy to their work
As they kept our shops open, our classrooms filled
And our farms fielded.
As the sun rises higher in the sky
And the dial moves on
More names fill our roll call…
The Vets of Vietnam
Peacekeepers of East Timor
Aussies still in Afghanistan as we gather here today.
We remember them all.
As our youngsters, and not so youngsters
Take the Kokoda track today
What happens for them?
As the ground speaks its stories to them
Do they burn with revenge
Or fan a resolution
To not repeat the history?
As thousands of tourists pace over the pebbles of Auschwitz-Birkenhau,
Do they rejoice that work today can be free?
Travelling Eurostar trains over the green fields of France
Do we hope those farms will not become forts again?
May the courage of those before us put courage into us,
May their valour teach us to vie for peace instead of conflict.
As we stand here today by our own choice may we be thankful for those who freely chose lay down their lives for others.
May we find peace in our hearts and be ourselves peacemakers
That those who cross our way may know peace,
Even in times of conflict.
And may our families still tormented by past and present war know that we stand with them sharing their sorrow and willing them hope.
At the going down of the sun
We will remember them
And we still hope
That one day there will be a dusk to the devastation
And all will be made new.
Simon C.J. Falk
Anzac Day 2013