I write this post with tears in my eyes. I woke up early this morning thinking about Anzac Day and the mothers of the young soldiers who left Australia in November, 1914 to fight half way around the world. My chest tightened with fear and sadness as I put myself in the mother's shoes visualising my twenty-one year old son leaving for foreign shores to fight an unseen enemy. I can't describe the pain and anguish that clenched my heart so hard I could hardly breathe. The women didn't know how long their men would be away for, or if they would ever see them again.
Some mothers lost two, three or more sons as well as their husband. The pain must have been indescribable. It is often said that time heals, but I'm sure the ache is carried in these mother's hearts until they die. Likewise, the men and women who came back with the memories and/or injuries of the events shared with their mates who didn't make it would leave a perpetual agony inside them for those lives lost. I'm sure they wish it had been them who had died instead of their mates. The soldiers march today with memories and, I'm sure, feeling the presence of their mates beside them while they pray for future generations that they will be spared the pain that war brought to them.
What impresses me about the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought in the early part of last century was their eagerness to serve the mother country, Great Britain. They held an allegiance in their hearts that spurred them on to want to protect. Their efforts have given us the freedom we enjoy today.
Thank you men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, and to all those who have returned, I honour you. You live with the memories of war every day. That can't be easy. To all our soldiers who've served on foreign land since Gallipoli and are serving today, I salute you, too, for your willingness to serve and protect lives throughout the world. Please know that your courage and work inspires others. Anzac Day is your day to accept, without reservation, the admiration and respect of our community . Thank you for the priceless gift of yourself to Australia and New Zealand.
Lest we forget...