ANZAC Day

On: Memorial Day

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Today marks the official, 43rd year of observing Memorial Day, as a federal holiday beginning in 1971. It could be the 149th, 148th, 147th or 146th, depending on who you are, what you believe and where you are from. There are no less than a dozen cities, organizations and persons that it has been attributed to or claim it and that they, he or she was the first to come up with the name and or to celebrate the event for the first time. Indeed, a study or personal research undertaken, as to the histories and origins of Memorial Day, will reveal very much, interesting information. That last sentence was highly understated!

The stories range from it began in the south to no, it was the north from after the American Civil War. Some say no, it began earlier than that. Some say it started in Columbus, Georgia, but Columbus, Mississippi, highly disagrees with that, because they say they were first.

Francis Miles Finch (June 9, 1827 – July 31, 1907) was an American judge, poet, and academic associated with the early years of Cornell University. Finch wrote poetry throughout his life. Perhaps his best known poem, “The Blue and the Gray”, written in remembrance of the dead of the American Civil War, was inspired by a women’s memorial association in Columbus, Mississippi, who on April 25, 1866 tended the graves of Confederate and Union soldiers, treating the dead as equals despite the lingering rancor of the war.

 

The Blue and the Gray

By Francis Miles Finch

By the flow of the inland river,
  Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver,
  Asleep are the ranks of the dead:
    Under the sod and the dew,
      Waiting the judgment-day;
    Under the one, the Blue,
      Under the other, the Gray.
 
These in the robings of glory,
  Those in the gloom of defeat,
All with the battle-blood gory,
  In the dusk of eternity meet:
    Under the sod and the dew,
      Waiting the judgment-day;
    Under the laurel, the Blue,
      Under the willow, the Gray.
 
From the silence of sorrowful hours
  The desolate mourners go,
Lovingly laden with flowers
  Alike for the friend and the foe:
    Under the sod and the dew,
      Waiting the judgment-day;
    Under the roses, the Blue,
      Under the lilies, the Gray.
 
So with an equal splendor,
  The morning sun-rays fall,
With a touch impartially tender,
  On the blossoms blooming for all:
    Under the sod and the dew,
      Waiting the judgment-day;
    Broidered with gold, the Blue,
      Mellowed with gold, the Gray.
 
So, when the summer calleth,
  On forest and field of grain,
With an equal murmur falleth
  The cooling drip of the rain:
    Under the sod and the dew,
      Waiting the judgment-day;
    Wet with the rain, the Blue,
      Wet with the rain, the Gray.
 
Sadly, but not with upbraiding,
  The generous deed was done,
In the storm of the years that are fading
  No braver battle was won:
    Under the sod and the dew,
      Waiting the judgment-day;
    Under the blossoms, the Blue,
      Under the garlands, the Gray.
 
No more shall the war cry sever,
  Or the winding rivers be red;
They banish our anger forever
  When they laurel the graves of our dead!
    Under the sod and the dew,
      Waiting the judgment-day;
    Love and tears for the Blue,
      Tears and love for the Gray.

 

 

Though this is a beautiful poem and memory, some believe Memorial Day was inspired by a southern woman and others say it was a northern military officer. Then there is a town in my state, Waterloo, NY that have honored the day since May 5th, 1866. To this, president Lyndon Johnson directed the federal government to recognize Waterloo, NY in 1971, as the birthplace of Memorial Day? You cannot say that the president, a southerner, was biased, being Waterloo, NY, is, in the north. But hold on, wait just a minute.

Some believe and would like the rest of us to believe that the ceremonies in April of 1865, might have begun what has come to be known as Memorial Day? Remember Fort Sumter? It was a fort off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, long used in defense of the city. For all practical reasons, Fort Sumter is where the American Civil War began. It seemed kind of fitting to include it in the memory, after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, which unofficially ended the war between the states. Indeed, the same year, the flag of the United States would fly over Fort Sumter. All kinds of ceremonies were planned and implemented on the island, to honor the dead, the end of hostilities and the long reconciliatory process which was beginning, between the north and the south. This all happened on April 15, 1865. Later the same day and this same year, in Washington, D.C., president Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theater.

But hold on again, wait just another minute. What about the story of prisoners of war that had died in captivity in Charleston, South Carolina and were honored on May 1, 1865? Was this the beginning of Memorial Day?

“During the war, Union soldiers who were prisoners of war had been held at the Charleston Race Course and were hastily buried in unmarked graves. Together with teachers and missionaries, black residents of Charleston organized a May Day ceremony, covered by the New York Tribune and other national papers. The freedmen cleaned up and landscaped the burial ground, building, an enclosure and an arch labeled, “Martyrs of the Race Course.” Nearly ten thousand people, mostly freedmen, gathered on May 1 to commemorate the war dead. Involved were about 3,000 school children newly enrolled in freedmen’s schools, mutual aid societies, Union troops, black ministers, and white northern missionaries. Most brought flowers to lay on the burial field.”

 

Excerpts from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day

 

Professor David W. Blight of the Yale University Department of History, described the day during part of his lecture, ‘The Beginning of Memorial Day,’

“This was the first Memorial Day. African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina. What you have there is black Americans recently freed from slavery announcing to the world with their flowers, their feet, and their songs what the war had been about. What they basically were creating was the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.”

http://oyc.yale.edu/history/hist-119/lecture-19#ch5

 

However, Blight stated he “has no evidence” that this event in Charleston inspired the establishment of Memorial Day across the country.

Source of quote: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/us/many-claim-to-be-memorial-day-birthplace.html?pagewanted=2

 

Of course, there remain many that want to dispute professor Blight’s claim, but if it were not for his discovery of this information, nearly lost and possibly suppressed, we would not even have it to consider. Did you know this former racetrack-turned open air field cemetery, still exists or efforts are being made to include this hallowed place as, an historic landmark? I did not until very recently.

On and on the stories and claims go, perhaps without ending and without number. But it seems the importance or meaning of the day, is lost on who said what first, made it first, and inspired it first.

At this point, what exactly do we know? We know that somewhere, sometime, someone merged Decoration Day with Memorial Day. It was merged because, after the change, people would still ‘decorate’  the graves of the fallen, but the word ‘memorial’ was more appropriate, for the reason they they did this. So it seems the connection was to honor the dead that fell during the American Civil War by decorating their graves. But we know that today, Memorial Day has expanded.

Many believe the name change from “Decoration Day” to “Memorial Day,” was first used in 1882. But it still was not a Federal Law until 1967.  On June 28, 1968, the Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday, in order to create a convenient, three-day weekend. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30th date to the last Monday in May.

Law smaw, many states rejected this change until years later, when all 50 states were finally in compliance. Then there are those that still don’t like the date of the last Monday of the month of May. They would prefer the date being set on a more traditional date of  May 30th, no matter what day of the week it may fall on. Congress has been repeatedly petitioned to make this change, even among its own members, but to no avail. Besides, if this were to happen, it would disrupt Memorial Day business, observed by most businesses because, this is the unofficial beginning of summer. Hmmm, what was really important, the day itself or another day off and part of another long weekend off and the opportunity for businesses to sell us their stuff from out of their stock and off their shelves?

Memorial Day expanded to include fallen soldiers, for all wars and conflicts since the American Civil War. Some did not like that because, living soldiers were not included. So Veterans Day was added for all veterans, living and deceased, for all wars. Veteran’s Day is  on Tuesday, November 11 (this year 2014). But I bet more than many turn this into a four-day weekend, to do more stuff, get more stuff and to sell more stuff.

Memorial Day weekend has expanded to associate with the Labor Day weekend beginning, Monday September 1st (this year 2014). What is the association? Most people, businesses and organizations, with private or public swimming pools, open their pools around Memorial Day and close them down, after Labor Day.

Memorial Day weekend has expanded to associate with, the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca Cola 6oo races. These car racing events have for some time, been run on Memorial  Day.

Somehow, Memorial Day was expanded to include all deceased members of families and friends and associates. People everywhere started decorating other graves besides those of soldiers. Then Memorial Day expanded to include picnics, gatherings of friends and families, businesses, other groups and of course, including barbecues!

Around the 16th century in England, the word potluck is said to have first been used. In the writings of Thomas Nashe, he defined this as, “food provided for an unexpected or uninvited guest, the luck of the pot.” In the 19th or 20th century, this potluck or sometimes called potlatch, was considered a communal or community meal, where people brought their own food. To the native Irish, this “luck of the pot,” had no particular menu, but was shared with many people and with many types of food, from whatever you had on hand because, quite often, this was the only pot people had to cook with. So many got together to use it and share the food together. This could have been neighbors, friends, families or all of them. This could have taken on the character of an extended family or a family reunion. Some people would often travel hundreds of miles to reconnect or with friends and families. They would gather on a certain day (like Memorial Day), decorate the graves of loved ones and renew their relationships or meet other new friends and family members. Sometimes, there could have been a religious service at the site and often this would follow with a “dinner on the ground.” Yes, at the cemetery, they would spread sheets or tablecloths on the grass or set up tables and “pass the pot,” sharing together what each brought to share. Now many believe this practice started way before the American Civil War so therefore, it predates any other origin of Memorial Day. But there are plenty of people around to dispute that claim or idea!

So what do we know for sure? We know that Memorial Day has expanded to include a lot of people and stuff. But what actually is Memorial Day? What is its purpose? I dunno, so I looked up the word “memorial,” in the dictionary.

 

The word memorial is a noun. It’s first definition, found in most dictionaries is, something similar to that which follows:

 

“something designed to preserve the memory of a person, event, etc., as a monument or a holiday.’

Origin:

1350-1400; Middle English < Late Latin memoriāle, noun of neuter of Latin memoriālis for or containing memoranda. belonging to remembrance

Old French memorie, from Latin memoria, from memor mindful”

 

excerpts from: http://dictionary.reference.com/

 

In the least common denominator, memorial comes from the word memory and is connected to ‘being mindful.’ What should we be memorializing? For what purpose should we remember. keep in our memory and be mindful of?

In a previous post on this blog  ‘ON: ANZAC DAY, I wrote about my recent experiences in Australia. You can can read it for the first time or again if you so choose, but it began for me, an evolution if you will, for what Memorial Day means to me now.

Here at The Gathering Place, me and the Mrs., which is pretty poor, improper or just bad English (but the 2 m’s may make it easier to recall) or properly, the Mrs. and I, are spending the day much like many others. We started by attending our first Memorial Day Parade, in our new home-based area of, Macedon, NY. As relatively new members of this community, we wanted to become more involved. We waited at the cemetery, as the parade approached.

 

 

We connected with new friends and reconnected with old friends. We walked into the cemetery and were part of the short service that was followed by free hotdogs, chips and drinks up at the Macedon Center.

But the service began with a moment of silence, honoring those soldiers that were buried in this field. Next, there was an oral reading of a poem I had not heard before. The poem was written by Archibald MacLeish, a poet who served in the U.S. Army in World War I:

 

The Young Dead Soldiers

by Archibald MacLeish

The young dead soldiers do not speak.
Nevertheless, they are heard in the still houses:
who has not heard them?
They have a silence that speaks for them at night and when the clock
counts.
They say: We were young. We have died.
Remember us.
They say: We have done what we could
but until it is finished it is not done.
They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished no one can
know what our lives gave.
They say: Our deaths are not ours: they are yours, they will mean what
you make them.
They say: Whether our lives and our deaths were for peace and a new hope
or for nothing we cannot say, it is you who must say this.
We leave you our deaths. Give them their meaning.
We were young, they say. We have died; remember us

 

 

This was followed by a short prayer in thanks for the freedom that we there and we everywhere, are charged with as overseers and preservers of this freedom. The service concluded with a 21 gun salute to those fallen.

Both my wife Susan and I have had members of our individual families and mutual friends that served in the military. We have friends and family that are presently, serving in the military. We are quite used to and understand, “extended families.” These friends and families and soldiers became, ours and my friends and families and soldiers!

My manner for quite sometime has been, to remove my hat and extend my right hand to any soldier I meet, to say thank you, for their service to our country. All of theses men and women either paid the ultimate sacrifice or were or are willing, to give their lives, for what they believed and believe is in defense of this nation. But what does that mean? What is this nation? How are we any different than any other person upon the face of the earth, living or dead? Isn’t it that we have placed into writing that “all…are equal,” and all have, “certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness?” Is this not the cry of every heart; of every man, woman and child – past, present and future for, the freedom to exercise these rights?

For Susan and I like many people, we will put something on the grill later and do some yard work, visit with and talk to friends and family. I will personally reflect upon what Memorial Day has now come to mean to me.

I will change my greeting to any known solidier I may meet. I will thank them for their part is keeping us all free to enjoy Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. And I will extend this greeting to you, wherever you may be or whenever we may meet. For you too are, a defender, protector and an overseer of this freedom we all here, are here by rights to enjoy.

To truly honor our dead, we may continue to decorate their graves, get together, barbecue, open or go to a pool, and all the things we do, do on Memorial Day, but How SHALL WE HONOR THEM the BEST!

Let us go forth this Memorial Day, for all time, in the memory of and mindful of that each of us contribute or take part in the attempts to destroy freedom. If we cannot all, always agree, let us agree to disagree and part as friends and family, but let us each continue to preserve the path in peace, and decorate, and remember that we each are preservers of the freedom to enjoy, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness!

So to you, anyone that reads this or that I meet today or that I may meet one day, I say THANK YOU! Thank you for taking care of all our freedom to all our rights for, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness!!! Thank You!

 

In gratitude for your life,

 

Donnie

Memorial Day, May 26th, 2014

Categories: ANZAC Day, Family & Friends, Freedom, Holidays, Inspiration, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness, Memorial Day, Poetry, The Gathering Place | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: Anzac Day

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Caveat lector – LATIN “Let the reader beware”

Dear Friends and Family,

This will be a very long post. I realize that you may have many things that you deem more important than reading my blog and because of the length of that to follow, this post, but I promise you that it will be well worth your time! Our purpose singularly, in visiting Japan and Australia was to meet two of our newest grandsons for the very first time and to be with family and friends we have not seen in a long time. It is like a vacation too and like an exploration to us, of the new and unknown. I try with all my ability to immerse myself in all that I do. Whether or not you believe me, I do this mostly, for you! In much that I do, I think, I must live live inside my head and within my heart and perhaps I should instead, just be living life. I think that I am living, but I just know of no other way to be, then who and what I am. I take things and feel things deeply and my sincerest hope for you in reading this post is that you will find something that moves you as deeply as it has and does. so moves me. Perhaps it will even change your life or transform it? It is for this purpose that I have written the following, as best that I know how. I have written it for you!!!

If I could wish and my wishes could come true, I’d wish I could type (keystroke) faster, think faster, think smarter, use less words, but capture exactly what I feel that you feel exactly what I try to write and that it may be understood by anyone!!!

Dahni

Guhday mates from Dahni, your ANZAC Day guide

Guhday mates from Donnie, your ANZAC Day guide

On Friday April 25th, 2014, Australia, will commemorate the 99th year memorial of ANZAC Day.

Until quite recently, I had never heard of ANZAC Day. It has been an evolving rote (basic) understanding for me of not just the event of historical relevance, but its far-reaching significance to the world. As this is being written, the sun has already set here in Australia and I scramble to complete this post in time, for you of the West that will soon begin your sunrise on Friday.

We were informed of ANZAC Day by email from a family member, before we arrived in Australia. I thought there was some connection between the Netherlands and Australia, but I could not quite understand it. But there was a U.S. connection that I did understand and you will understand this as well, at the conclusion of this post and the video at the very end.

Then, I started to see that there was a connection between Australia and New Zealand, but it still, was unclear to me, what this was.

Then, we were downtown in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, in Hyde Park. There, in this beautiful and massive park stands, the ANZAC Memorial.

Mem

ANZAC Memorial, Hyde Park, Sydney, NSW, Australia

see: http://www.anzacmemorial.nsw.gov.au/

That ANZAC Day is important to the Australians, is another public holiday, and not relative to me (or so I thought), was all becoming more clear to me.

I knew today was related to Gallipolli, war, April 25 and 1915 and this is about all I understood. In the United States we have Veterans Day and I thought it was just something unique to us as, ANZAC Day is to Australia and New Zealand. I still did not yet understand, the connections and associations and involvement of many people and many countries throughout the world, with this particular day.

I do understand and have great respect for honoring not the dead, but the purposes for which they loved, lived and died. I remember seeing my own countrymen spit on our own returning veterans from the Vietnam conflict. I use the word “conflict, on purpose, for it was never declared a war by my government. This seems to be an all too often ploy, to conduct, for all practical purposes, war without having the US Congress involved, in declaring it so. I understand that many of our returning service men and women were treated poorly, because of the nation’s vehement desire to protest it; were against it and unfortunately, those that got caught in the crossfire by many of us, WE the People, were our own people; our own brothers and sisters; our service men and women! Things have changed since then. There is more respect bestowed, more honor given and it is all, more than deserved and far, far less, than they deserve! After all, because of men and women like these the world over, every country to some degree or another, enjoys the liberty, the freedoms, the prosperity and the peace that we all do. I understand the simple act of recognizing one who has served or is serving by saying, THANK YOU, and shaking their hand!” If not for such as these, the world in its entirety, would be in slavery, in bondage and not know liberty!

But the meaning of all this has come to mean, so much more to me!

On Thursday night April 24th, 2014, I was walking through the downtown area of Camden, New South Wales, Australia. I went into a local clothing store called, ‘The Looking Class.’ I was surprised to find them open at this hour, but was later informed that Thursday nights are a normal time to shop here and most stores would be closed the next day, on Friday due to the holiday.

My purpose in stopping there was to thank them for trying to locate an Akurbra hat for me, which I later found in Katoomba, NSW, Australia, during our visit to the Blue Mountains. I also wanted to ask if there was a special brush I could purchase from them to keep my hat clean. And, having nearly had my hat blown off my head by the wind here, I was curious as to a solution to prevent this from happening in the future. Though the wind was slight and more than I had previously or since experienced while in Australia, where we live on top of a hill in Macedon, New York, in the United States of America, the winds can be quite fierce and on a regular basis.  I do not want to lose my hat!

The owner and his wife were both present and I thanked them, for their efforts in trying to locate a ‘Coolibah,’ Akurbra, in my size and asked my questions. Bob promptly showed me a leather chinstrap made of Kangaroo hide and made in Australia. He promised that if I brought in my hat, he would install the strap for me at no charge, even though I did not purchase my hat from them.

We chatted about many things, my impressions of Australia and they shared some history of their country, the community of Camden and even explained some Aussie phrases to me. 🙂

Bob is a member of the Camden Community Band along with our son Jonathan and asked me if either Jon was going to perform with the band the following morning and would I be attending the sunrise service for ANZAC Day on Friday? I told them that Jonathan could not attend. I knew very little about this public holiday, even though we viewed, the 1981 movie, ‘Gallipoli,’ soon after we first arrived in Australia.

Movie DVD cover art starring Mel Gibson

1981 Movie DVD cover art
starring Mel Gibson & Mark Lee

I still did not understand and because, from a military point of view, this battle, for which ANZAC Day is remembered, was basically a failed campaign with many losses of life!

Still, the day is important enough to Australia to declare it a national holiday. And it was obviously important to Bob. He had a wonderful display in their store window.

Looking Class Store Window Display

Looking Class clothing store window display

The Looking Class

The Looking Class Clothing Store

Bob informed me that the service would begin at 5:20 AM the next morning. I will never forget my response to his question, am I going! “Who on God’s earth would be awake at this time of the morning,” I sarcastically replied. But I did leave their store with the suggestion that I might show up.

I have been awakened often at 5:00 AM here anyway, because the three cats that live here. If our door is not all the way closed, all three will come into our room to try and wake me up to feed them. One even walks across the head of our bed, and my head, to get to the nightstand and will literally tap the button on the alarm clock to make the radio come on, if all else fails to rouse me from sleep. 🙂

But, I decided to set the alarm on my smart phone, for 4:50 AM and give this sunrise service a shot.

The alarm went off as scheduled; I got up and dressed; then walked maybe four minutes, to where the service was to be held at, The Camden Rose Garden. While I was walking, I noticed to my surprise, the streets were already starting to be lined on both sides with vehicles. I saw a few people out, here and there. Then, as I rounded the corner of the street to where the service was to be held, I beheld something totally unexpected! Hundreds of people were already gathering at the Memorial Rose Garden. Police closed the street to traffic and set up and manned blockades at both ends. As I walked closer, the crowd of people grew larger.

Here were the young and elderly people, male and female, whole families with their children (some still in their pajamas) and groups of families and friends all walking towards the center of attention. The morning was overcast and it was not supposed to rain. There was only a slight 10% chance, but after 10:00 AM. While I walked closer, the band promptly began to play at 5:20 AM.

As I drew closer, I could see that the musicians had their music stands with little lights on them so that they could read the music before them and play their instruments. I saw many men and women dressed in uniform, scouts and various youth groups were dressed in uniform and there were several in their street clothes that had medals on their overcoats and jackets. The temperature was cool and delicious. I only wore a single long sleeve shirt, long pants, shoes and socks. Some that gathered had clear plastic raincoats and others had umbrellas, many of which, had the Australian Flag as part of the design when opened. On occasion, the then crescent moon shined through the clouds and the area had the benefit of a few streetlamps to provide light.

ANZAC Day sunrise service, video clip

As the band finished the first song, an announcer over a speaker greeted the people and thanked them for coming and for proving him wrong, as it was reported that there were hundreds of people there! By the time the service was over (approximately 1 hour in length), there must have been thousands present at such an early hour, including myself, the least among them, to know why I was there.

The band played another tune and then there was a pause. The people stood motionless and quiet. A few kookaburra birds supplied some vocals. Then the announcer began to explain the purpose of this service and gave a brief introduction of what was to come, named the featured speaker and other dignitaries that had come to participate. The people and every child stood still and were still. It started to rain and I prayed fervently that it would cease. It mattered not, no one moved or even flinched. A few lifted their umbrellas and some were in raincoats, but the rest of the crowd would not be moved by any amount of rain. Thankfully, the rain stopped.

Youth groups in uniforms marched. Planes unseen in the clouds above, flew quietly overhead, out of respect. Every ear listened, as this memorial was far more than to honor those that had fought and died, for what they believed was right and sacrificed the full measure of their devotion, with their lives. Left behind were families that perhaps, would never see their sons, brothers, relatives, friends, or husbands anymore, and children that may have never known their fathers. Left behind were those free to aspire to careers as doctors, engineers, scientists and all manner of free-to-choose paths, FREE from tyranny. Left behind would be those that would live with privilege, not ever knowing war and its many losses and its many changes that many would take long to recover from and some perhaps, not ever. What a wonderful lesson these children and I were being instructed and inspired with! Many of these children, I found out later, did not have to be there so early, they wanted to be!

The beautiful and soaring vocals of woman, along with the band, filled the air and every heart. One by one and group by group, many came forward from the crowd and laid a wreath of honor with the simple and singularly repeated banner, “LEST WE FORGET.” 

Something familiar as, “We will remember, We will never forget,” and other such phrases came to my mind, but…

…But the meaning of all this has come to mean, so much more to me!

The featured speaker was an active military person. His assignment was to bring home fellow soldiers, those that had completed their assignments, were injured and those that fell from the Iraqi war and Afghanistan. It did not matter from which country they hailed. His task this morning was to express what ANZAC Day meant to him. He began his brief remarks with a sincere and humble apology, should he stumble over his words, if his voice should crack or if he could not speak the full content of his words. It was a highly emotional speech. I recall some of it. His job and his team’s mission was to bring “their” soldiers home, period, whatever it took, from whatever country they may have come from! They joked as the plane was loaded and ready to take off, to an unseen enemy, “give us your best shot!” At that very moment, a single bullet rang out and hit. An american soldier that just moments before was showing pictures of his wife and family, smiling and looking so forward to going home, was instantly dead. Our morning speaker mentioned other similar events, his voice quivered, but stayed strong and true. “All our soldiers, we bring home,” he said, with out reservation or hesitation!

I must confess that I was literally in tears. I cannot recount how moved I was and how privileged I felt to be alive, to have been in Australia and to have participated in this early morning service that was purposed to be on or about the same time in 1915, when the soldiers fought and died the morning of April 25th.

There I was, some 9,000 miles away from our home, in another country; at nearly the bottom of the world, before dawn. I cannot imagine what those in 1915 must have felt that day, so far from their loved ones and on foreign soil!

But the meaning of all this has come to mean, so much more to me!

ANZAC Day marks the anniversary of the first campaign that led to major casualties for Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers were known as Anzacs. Anzac Day remains one of the most important national occasions of both Australia and New Zealand, a rare instance of two sovereign countries that not only share in the same remembrance day, but making reference to both countries in its name. When war broke out in 1914, Australia and New Zealand had been dominions of the British Empire for thirteen and seven years respectively.

But Anzac Day has become a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all, “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations,” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served. though originally, April 25th was to honor the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

But the meaning of all this has come to mean, so much more to me!

Today, is also, a very special Day for the Dutch in the Netherlands, the Turkish people, the Greeks, and as it should be to Canada, Great Britain, the United States, and in my opinion, the whole world.

“The Gallipoli peninsula TurkishGelibolu YarımadasıGreek:Καλλίπολη) is located in Turkish Thrace (or East Thrace), the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles straits to the east. Gallipoli derives its name from the Greek “Καλλίπολις” (Kallipolis), meaning “Beautiful City”. In antiquity, it was known as the Thracian Chersonese (LatinChersonesus ThracicaGreekΘρακική Χερσόνησος).

In ancient times, the Gallipoli Peninsula was known as the Thracian Chersonesus (“Chersonesus” means “peninsula”) to the Greeks and Romans. it was the location of several prominent towns, including CardiaPactya, Callipolis (Gallipoli), AlopeconnesusSestosMadytos, and Elaeus. The peninsula was renowned for its wheat. It also benefited from its strategic importance on the main route between Europe and Asia, as well as from its control of the shipping route from Crimea. The city of Sestos was the main crossing-point on the Hellespont (Dardanelles).”

Source: Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallipoli

After the sunrise service, there was a parade downtown around 10 AM the same morning. Susan and I made the short walk and arrived shortly before it began. A lady close to us on the corner, was wearing a sprig of rosemary on her blouse. I asked her why and she told us it is a spice for remembering and used symbolically on ANZAC Day. Camden has rosemary growing all over downtown! We struck up a conversation with this lady who has lived in Australia for eight years. She was born and raised in Cyprus, part of Greece and she explained the Greek connection to ANZAC DAY. She broke off two sprigs of rosemary, one for Susan and I and withdrew two small safety pins from her purse and pinned us! A man came by and offered anyone that wanted one, a free Australian Flag. So this is the information about my picture above. But most important, the connections are all starting to connect for me.

Susan enjoying the parade

Susan enjoying the parade

1,000's of the people of Camden came out

1,000’s of the people of Camden came out

Girl carrying one of the many wreaths

A girl carrying one of the many wreaths

The Memorial at the Rose Garden

The Memorial at the Rose Garden

"Lest We Forget"

“Lest We Forget”

Though the following video displays uniforms and symbolism perhaps specifically only familiar to the people of the United States, cannot the same truths and emotions be understood, shared and felt among all the peoples of the world?!

“Hey Brother”

In World War 2, twenty-two thousand Australians were captured defending Malaya, Singapore, and the Netherlands and the East Indies. An estimated 8031 died in captivity as Prisoners-of-War (POWs) of the Japanese.

Some 13000 Australian POWs were transported to Burma and Thailand to work on the 420 kilometre (about 261 miles) Burma–Thailand Railway, where nearly 2650 Australians died — from disease, deprivation and horrendous brutality at the hands of their captors. This was known as and perhaps for infamy (in shame), the ‘Railway of Death.’

But the meaning of all this has come to mean, so much more to me!

In Turkey, the name “ANZAC Cove” was officially recognized by the Turkish government on Anzac Day in 1985. In 1934, Kemal Atatürk delivered the following words to the first Australians, New Zealanders and British to visit the Gallipoli battlefields. This was later inscribed on a monolith at Ari Burnu Cemetery (ANZAC Beach) which was unveiled in 1985. The words also appear on the Kemal Atatürk Memorial, Canberra, and the Atatürk Memorial in Wellington:

“Those heroes that shed their blood
And lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons from far away countries
Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well.”

But the meaning of all this has come to mean, so much more to me!

The Netherlands connect with and share much in common with ANZAC DAY.

In commemorating the 20th anniversary of The Netherlands liberation, the Dutch government commissioned trumpet player, Nini Rosso and Guglielmo Brezza, to compose a piece of music. It was written in 1965 and first played in 1965, May 5th.

The piece is instrumental, with a small spoken Italian lyric, notable for its trumpet theme. Its thematic melody is, an extension of the same Italian Calvary bugle call, used by Russian composer Tchaikovsky, to open his ‘Capriccio Italien’ and often mistaken for the United States bugle call, ‘Taps.’ It has become a world wide instrumental standard.

The reason for the commissioning of this music was to honor those in a cemetery in the Dutch city of Maastricht. For there lie buried, 8,301 American soldiers, who died in “Operation Market Garden,” in the battles to liberate Holland in the fall and winter of 1944-45. Everyone of the men buried in the cemetery, as well as those in the Canadian and British military cemeteries has been adopted by a Dutch family, who tend the grave and keep alive the memory of the soldier they have adopted. It is the custom to keep a portrait of “their,” foreign soldier, in a place of honor in their homes. Annually, on “Liberation Day,” Memorial Services are held for “the men, who died to liberate Holland.” The day concludes with a concert, at which, “Il Silenzio” (The Silence) has always been, the concluding piece.

Il Silenzio contains the following spoken lines:

Buona notte, amore
Ti vedrò nei miei sogni
Buona notte a te che sei lontana
Good night, love
I’ll see you in my dreams
Good night to you who are far away.

In 2008, the soloist was a 13-year-old Dutch girl, Melissa Venema, backed by André Rieu and the Royal Orchestra of the Netherlands.

 

“Il Silenzio” 

The Silence

But the meaning of all this has come to mean, so much more to me!

We the peoples of the world are connected, by so much more than we may realize. I am not advocating that we abandon our individual dates of importance or our cultures. I am not even suggesting that we all share in some world wide special international holiday. In silence we all should not just remember what people have died for, but for what purpose have they lived.

The United States, in our Declaration of Independence of 1776, put into writing, the hopes and dreams of every man, woman and child for all times past, for the present and for all our futures; ALL PEOPLE OF THE WORLD! Are the peoples of the world all not connected by the fervent desire, for “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness!” We should remember those that lived and died for these things the world over as well as, those that live now and have resolved to give their lives to those ends if called for. But we who are alive and live with the privileges of those sacrifices made for us, should remember that we all desire the same things and to live this way, to teach our children, and avoid any conflict,

“Lest we forget!” 

And these are not merely lofty sentiments or unreal expectations. For the purpose of life is to live. The right of life is liberty. The desire of every life is the pursuit of individual happiness.

Over nine thousand miles away from home, in a foreign country; at almost the bottom of the world, I have seen this and experienced it in the coming together of the people here in Camden, New South Wales, Australia, on this ANZAC Day, 2014!

For this day, they were all a part of me and I was one with them. May I return to my own homeland with this same heart and share it,

“Lest I Forget!

Categories: ANZAC Day, Australia, Australian Life, Beauty, Family & Friends, Holidays, Inspiration, Japan, The Gathering Place, The Global Village, The Land Down Under, Things that really matter, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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