I had intended to do much more with this post, but given it's length, I will stick to answering one question;
why do I remember?
Remembrance day was always something that we participated in at school. By that, I mean that we sat silently at a special school assembly and listened to an elderly gentleman, usually from the RSL, talk about how important the day was, and how important it was to remember. This was followed by the last post and a minute silence, filled with coughing.
Clearly, this service never meant anything to me. Try as I might, I could never really grasp the idea of remembering men (and women) who had died many years ago. To me, they were dead, hence, our act of remembrance could do nothing for them.
So, once again, why do I remember?
April 2013/4- I finally understood what it is to 'remember them'. I got up early and attended the (over before dawn) dawn service at my local RSL. I stood in respect for the families who have lost loved ones through war and other military activities. I attended for the families. I mourned for the families. I still did not understand fully why we remember those who have fought and died. I remember also those who have survived, and the horrible things that they have experienced. The horrible and challenging things that they still must face. Yet still I wondered, why remember the dead?
June/ July 2014- My trip to the Western Front. (If you are interested, leave a comment below and I will describe my trip for you.) This trip changed things for me. I find it difficult to describe, but somehow, it almost feels like the soldiers are waiting in their graves to be visited. It's like they sit together on the grave stones and wait. They wait for us to visit and mourn. They wait to be remembered. It is one of the oddest things to feel and think, and I understand that I sound a little bit crazy, but it's like that.
Here is an extract from my journal-
"Oddly, I some how feel that these men are still present. Not in a spiritual way etc. But when we go to the graves, it is almost as though they are there, waiting for us, joking together and being remembered, This is really odd ... but it helps me to feel better about the [multitude of] graves."
Of course, we must not forget the many names of the missing engraved into stone walls.
"I have had this great desire to honour each individual man [(buried, missing, or returned)] by reading his name and learning his story. Throughout this journey, I have struggled with the impossibility of this task, feeling as though each story deserve[s] to be told."
Perhaps, it must be enough that someone is remembering them, be they family, other, or all of Australia. Each of these soldiers are special. They each deserve to be remembered. As do their families.
This year, I wear a poppy for each of the soldiers, be they Australian, New Zealander, or of an other nationality.
Before I go, I wanted to share with you my first attempt at nail art- poppies.
Let me know what you think. :)
Sorry that it is a bit blurry..