ANZAC Day lives on.
Despite age taking its toll, and in defiance of the rather wet weather, eight 463-467 Sqn veterans took part in the Sydney march on Monday with a group of ten or fifteen descendents and family members following behind. The rain, threatening all morning, held off for the most part while we were marching.
While the rain did fall at times, it failed to keep the crowds away. George St was lined four or five people deep for most of its length as we marched past. I think this fact alone is proof that ANZAC Day remains relevant and keeps its place in the hearts of many Australians.
Ten veterans were at the lunch that followed the march. Left to right, they were: David Skinner, Alan Buxton, Hugh McLeod, Don Southwell, Bill Purdy, Albert Wallace, Harry Brown, Don Browning, George Douglass, Don Huxtable.
But the nature of the commemoration of ANZAC Day will and must change. The men who fought in WWI are no more. And the men who fought WWII are getting on a bit. Before too many more years have gone by, there will be noone left who ‘was there’. So it will fall to the younger generation to ensure that these men – in the main, ordinary lads living in extraordinary times – and what they did is not forgotten. I’m always touched by the sentiments of the veterans I speak with on ANZAC Day. They are pleased as punch that there are younger people present, at both the march and the lunch. I think they are happy to know that someone will carry the banner down George St, long after they have gone. For me, as one of those younger people, hearing this is rather humbling.
Want further proof that there is a new generation of people remembering? Half way through lunch on ANZAC Day, a group of 20 young musicians entered.
They were the Australian Army Cadets Band and had been playing a few numbers at some of the other ANZAC Day lunches that were taking place around the city. They had a mighty sound and were a wonderful surprise for all present. Lest we forget, indeed!
© 2011 Adam Purcell