25 April 2010

Lest We Forget

Today is ANZAC Day.  I am beginning to celebrate it more each year as I grow older and become so acutely aware of the freedoms we enjoy in Australia, and I realise the price paid for this freedom was the enormous sacrifice of those who fought for my country.

Since ANZAC Day falls on a Sunday this year, our church had a special ANZAC Day service.  There was a video of the local gentleman who co-ordinates all the local ANZAC Day services speaking about the meaning of the day, and why we pause to remember those who fought for our freedom.

A friend of ours is the Army Chaplain at the local barracks and he spoke so movingly about the sacrifice of soldiers who fought for our freedom, and of Jesus' ultimate sacrifice buying our eternal freedom.  For reasons I didn't understand because I missed the first 10 minutes taking Buzz and Jessie to their children's program, the Chaplain also used a huge shepherd's crook to illustrate -er- something.  I will have to ask him.  But as he finished, he used the giant crook to thump on the platform - whump - and I decided that I need one at my house to maintain order.

- Whump! -

Yes.  Good.  That could work.

The worship pastor, Brendon Walmsley, sang the title song from his 2004 Album, "Bottle Tree Lane."  Check it out here.  If you did just listen to it, you'll understand why I always get teary when I hear it.  I nearly emailed him last night to say, "I have a feeling that you're going to do 'Bottle Tree Lane' tomorrow - please don't do it: I'll cry!"  And in the service, I sorta did a little.  I wasn't the only one. 

(We've recently been playing "Mister Walmsley's music" in the car, despite Jessie's protestations.  Mister Walmsley's album has replaced The Newsboys, and this is hard for a three year old hard-core Newsboys fan to take.  Redemption came this morning in our church service when Mr W. led worship and played "You are My King," which is of course, on the Newsboys album recently deposed by "Bottle Tree Lane.")

In all this, it was obvious that ANZAC Day is in no way a glorification of war (unwisely reading this article made me feel like I'd received a slap in the face), but a day to remember the fallen. 

And today, I remembered my grandfather who did come home from WWII.  He came home, but he was traumatized by his experiences and he rarely spoke of the war.  He never marched in an ANZAC Day parade.  He had nothing good to say about war.  He was haunted by the deaths of his comrades, he was haunted by the deaths of his enemies.

Today, I wish my brother was with me at church, wearing our grandfather's medals.  Not to glorify war, but to honour the men and women who were involved.


Emily Sue said...

The fact that ANZAC Day is a Sunday this year is why my work (church) decided NOT to have a special service. We normally do and veterans from a particular battalion attend, as they donated one of the stained glass windows in the church. But they were all marching and couldn't make it, so we just had a normal service.

It's horrifying how little support and understanding was available for men who came back from war. So much trauma that they had to just 'forget' once they came home. Just heartbreaking, really.

Givinya De Elba said...

I know. I can't imagine the horrors they had to deal with in their memories.

Mamma has spoken said...

My FIL and uncle were in WWII and they don't talk about what all they did in the war either. Dad will tell about how he was a navigator in a plane, but not what the plane did.
My son is back from Afganistain and he does talk about what all he saw/did. In part as therapy, and in part as a way to let others know what all he saw/did in order to make the war real. I think too many times we forget about it since it doesn't touch our lives as it did in the past generations.
May we all not forget what others have done and gave for our freedoms, no matter what country we live in!

Hairline Fracture said...

It sounds like a lovely way to honor the soldiers who served their country, even with the shepherd's crook whumping on the floor!

When I have time,I'll listen to "Mister Walmsley's music." I do like the Newsboys too though!

Anonymous said...

I saw the other side of war, when visiting Berlin a few years ago, they had photos positioned so you could see the view in 1945 and what is presently standing. In most 45 photos there was not one building standing and this was in a residential area. Many people had called this bombsite home and had lost everything. I couldn't help feeling that as usual it was the innocent that suffered through someone too greedy. i like to remember the innocent also caught up in terrible situations.
HJ's Mum.