I know I’m a bit late on the ANZAC Day train this year, but wanted to share this beautiful photo from the Dawn Service in Launceston on Saturday.
This was my third Dawn Service (I’ve written about attending the service in Gallipoli in 2003 previously), and took my eldest son, Noah, to last year’s service in Launceston. However it was the first for Harvey and our youngest son Ethan (he wanted to come last year but I couldn’t wake him up! Noah and I came home afterwards to tears because he missed out so I vowed to get him up this year).
Harvey has lived in Australia for 10 years and I wondered what he thought of the service as someone who wasn’t born or raised here. Would he see ANZAC Day as a celebration of war (like many claim it to be), as something very nationalistic or a day he will come to embrace as a citizen? As we drank a coffee together afterwards I asked these questions and we discussed how he felt as he stood with his family, our friend Suse and thousands of others in the darkness at the Launceston Cenotaph. He said he felt proud of our children, who both asked to go to the service after learning ANZAC Day history at school, and proud to be part of an event that paid respect to the men, women and animals who gave their lives so we could live as we do.
I feel like this may now become a family tradition, not because we are honouring a relative who fought, but because we appreciate what our forebears have done for us. I love that I can tell my sons what the Gallipoli Peninsula is actually like, how steeps the cliffs those soldiers had to climb were and what it was like to stay awake all night there amongst thousands of others to welcome the cold, clear dawn on April 25, 2003. I hope one day they might also like to see it for themselves.
And something I must add that made this year’s service very Australian: as the Last Post was played, peals of laughter from a group of kookaburras sang out across the still crowd. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way of honouring those amazing people who did something I would baulk at.