April 25 is Anzac Day, a time we in Australia and our brothers in New Zealand pause for a moment to remember those who died for us, defending our country, and also defending the freedoms of others. The date marks the first time we fought under our own flag, as Australians, when we landed on the beaches of Gallipoli in Turkey in 2015.
I visited Gallipoli in 1994, as I backpacked my way across Europe and some of the middle east. I walked through the Australian cemetery at Lone Pine, the site of a famous battle between Australian & Turkish forces, reading the brief inscriptions on the many, many headstones. As I moved along the rows of headstones, it struck me that they were all the same age as myself and the other backpackers around me. My adventure was travelling through Europe and the middle east, seeing the sights, getting drunk. There’s was coming to this remote shore on a foreign country, scrambling up a steep hill in the dark, and dying.
So no matter what I sometimes feel about the battles our governments decide to send us on over the years, I will always remember that in another time, another place, this could have been me lying here.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.