For those of you who live in Australia and aren’t living under a rock, you would have noticed the Thursday the 25th of April was ANZAC Day. A day where current and ex-servicemen and woman come together to share our gratitude, thanks, humility, reunion, loss and sorrow. It’s a day of mixed emotions for me, having lost two great mates whom I was fortunate enough to serve with. The day is always long and stressful, with much waiting around (as is the army way) and generally ends quietly with some reflective contemplation over a beer, well in my case it like that anyway.
Over the years I’ve been involved in many different ANZAC Day parades; from a haunting Dawn service upon arriving in East Timor, to driving Army Land Rovers in the Sydney Parade in 2006 and many other sizes and types of parades. But, being able to march with the rest of the 85 Transport diggers has been the most enjoyable so far. You see, for some time the parades were almost too rigid, to limiting and too regimented. Now I know these are military parades and they are meant to be regimented; I get that. But each years the numbers change, with the last remaining WW1 veterans no longer with us and the majority of the WW2 veterans going to same way; change is paramount to that legacy of the march continuing. Having my kids march with me, whether they are wearing medals or not is vitally important to maintain that legacy, after all one day one of them will be wearing my medals when I’m gone.
And that’s why I love marching with the 85 Transport diggers. Due to the longevity of the troop (although it’s a far cry from its former glory), the march consists of Vietnam Vets, East Timor, Namibia, Iraq and Afghanistan Vets as well as current serving members. We have kids marching with us and we are all welcomed as equals. Its not over regimented, we stick to the required protocols and do what’s required (mostly). But, most importantly, we have fun, we talk crap and enjoy this once a year moment.
It’s always difficult having to go through another ANZAC Day having lost mates throughout the year, it makes the day both more painful and more essential. As I get older I seem to be putting a lot more effort into the day, I just need to move out of my comfort zone a little more, maybe next year. I also find myself wanting to do more to help, which brings me onto my next point.
From now on, I plan to be more actively involved, and plan to do more within the Associations and RSL Sub Branches to help diggers that may be struggling. I can no longer sit silently and let more tragedies occur, I have a voice and a means, and I plan to use it.
And that’s what I encourage you to do more of, find those things that are important to you and actively work to make those things better. Use everything that you have at your disposal to help, as there are many who feel that there is no one helping them. Be that person who helps, contributes and changes the world with no expectation of the favour being returned.
‘til next time…..Cheers!