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"I would rather attempt something great and fail. Than to do nothing at all and succeed"

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Remembrance Day

Hi All,
So I'm jumping in on Rob's blog again.  He's a busy man and as much as he'd love to be a regular on this blogging thing the 'office' outside keeps him pretty tied up.
Remembrance Day, a day that we set aside in Australia to remember those who have died or suffered for our country in all wars and armed conflicts.  Is it the only time you set aside to think about how lucky we are to live with the freedom that we are accustomed to in Australia?   
When Anzac Day rolled around earlier in the year I had a strong urge to write down my thoughts.  When my children brought me home poppies from school yesterday I thought I would share my Anzac post that never made it onto the blog.

Once again I find myself full of thought and this strong desire to shout it from the roof tops.  Well maybe I shouldn't be quite so dramatic, maybe I'll log onto my husband's blog and upgrade its dormant status and share my thoughts. 

Anzac Day:  What does it mean for you?  Do you attend the service and remember marching practise at school when you were a little child before the impending local Anzac service?  Do your eyes well with tears when you see the elderly seated in the front row?  Maybe your heart burst with pride and sadness as you watch your young grandchild wear their relatives medallions with honour.  Have you raided your flower garden for the very best flowers to lay at the foot of the memorial?  Do you think of all those young people who served their country not really sure of the reality they would be facing when they landed on the front line and imagine you were in their shoes?  What about the families they left behind, what about the children that continue to lose their parents in the wars that are still going on?  These thoughts are what go through my head when I think about Anzac day, when I think about the soldiers still fighting wars, when I sit at the Anzac Day service. 

How blessed am I that complete strangers feel it their duty, to serve me, to fight for my freedom.  To allow me to have the carefree life that I share with my family.    

Recently I was lucky enough to listen to a returned soldier.  An amazing person who shared his story of his life before, during and after returning from serving Australia.  To say I was blown away is an understatement.  It took all my might, as he bared his heart and soul on stage, not to go up and put my arms around him.  To take some of his sorrow and lighten the burden that he faces every day.  As he spoke honestly about living with post traumatic stress disorder, the reality of his and many others in his situation really touched me.  We remember those who have died.  But those who are left behind to pick up the pieces and relive horror stories in their mind, day in and day out, are the ones who really need our support.  They are heroes.  They sacrifice a life of freedom home in Australia, living the 9-5 work week and playing on the weekend.  They sacrifice a life, free of demons in their minds, free of war torn images flashing through the night when they close their eyes.  They watch mates die in their arms, they witness untold horror.  All so their country can be free. 

In my mind they are super stars.  They overshadow all the sports icons, musicians and actors whom we all put on a pedestal.  When they arrive home though, they become an everyday person.  They fit back into society and we pass these people unknowingly in the street.  Unaware of their pain, their daily struggles and what they have faced.  Only those close to them witness the effect, notice the change and have to help rebuild around what war leaves behind.  Those that are deemed unfit for service must face a life of uncertainty.  They have spent their whole life living, breathing and training to be a soldier.  Now home in the country the so strongly fought to protect they feel out of place, like they don't belong.  They must find a new job, a new way of life and settle back into society. 

While we travelled overseas we witnessed American patriotism.  Tributes overflowed as the September 11 anniversary arrived.  We arrived at one hotel and there was a large sign with the words "Welcome home soldiers, you are our hero." The reason this hit home for me was because as a child when  my friends and I would yell "army cars" we would run and wave.  I have always held these people on a pedestal.  But as Australians when our soldiers come home and travel through I don't see the same patriotism. 

Recently at a service station 4 bus loads of soldiers arrived and grabbed a meal, all on their way home.  But there were no signs, no thank you banners.  Everyone just passed by them as if they were ordinary people waiting in line.  But if they had been a sports hero, someone famous or a Hollywood actor I'm sure people would have been lining up for autographs.

Why aren't we more patriotic?  Why don't we fly our flag out the front of our houses, like they do in America?  Why aren't we saying thank you more loudly and boldly? 

My children will certainly grow up with the knowledge of what our Australian troops do for them.  We won't forget those that have been before us or those that still continue to face the challenges that come with war. 

To those that have protected my country, to those who have given me the freedom to live a life that I choose to live, I truly am thankful.  Although you will be the unsung heroes in my life, whom with I will never meet, I thank you.