Friday, November 11, 2011

11.11.11 Lest We Forget.

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.
~Laurence Binyon~


Here in Australia the 11th day of the 11th month is Remembrance Day. We hold a minutes silence for those who have fallen in defence of our beautiful land on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. This year falling in 2011 especially poignant.

Even we, the generations who have not lived through wars close to our shores, feel the awe and need to honour the brave servicmen who did so much for us.

Every man or woman who has served our country, every battle, war, fight they have engaged in need to be acknowledged and remembered.

Lest we forget...

Thank you. Thank you all.

All the fallen or the returned battle weary, all were someone's someone: father, brother, son, cousin, uncle, friend, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, nephew... The few who sacrificed so much for the many. I wrote this for my uncle, and have posted it here before, but today he is foremost in my heart so I am posting it here once more.

Uncle Jack
My Aunt was sobbing softly
In the kitchen’s dying light
As I hid deep in corner
I just knew that things weren’t right

We kids had marched at daybreak
Up early on that day
Young children, very earnest
For the ANZAC Day parade

Uncle Jack strode strong behind us
Laconic smile at his best
With all the medals shining
Pinned high upon his chest

Every time I turned to look back
His cheeky wink was sent
And he blew me sloppy kisses
As along the streets we went

But now my Aunt was crying
When I thought she would be proud
Cause my Uncle survived Changi
He was a digger tall and loud.

Mum put her arms around her
Gently asking: “Is it worse?
Have the nightmares lessened,
Or does he still lash out and curse?”

He had survived such horrors
Watched most his good friends die
On that gruesome Burma railway
As it sucked away their lives

A gentle man had signed up
And died with all his mates
The man who had returned home
Broken, scarred and full of hate

Night terrors revealed so much
Of that he would not speak
Where he’d strangle all his captors
Whilst deeply lost in sleep

By day he’d still be funny
A loving family man
But nights were filled with violence
As he battled them again

My Aunt wiped away the tearstains
And stood up with a sigh
“Well, be best be getting cooking
It’s nearly their teatime.”

I walked out of the kitchen
To where the men sat in the sun
My Uncle Jack hugged and asked me,
“Whachya doin, little one?”

I held on really tightly
Words trapped within my mouth
Trying to say so much
But they wouldn’t come on out

Instead I said “I love you”
When I meant “You are so brave.
Thank you for coming home again,
And for this life of mine you’ve saved.”

2 comments:

Jen R said...

Lovely post xx

Janelle said...

You've moved me to tears. That poem is so heartfelt, poignant, real.