Many died in such conflicts – Boer War, WWI, WWII, Korea, the Middle East, Africa, Asian and South Pacific, 'United Nations' Peace-Keeping missions and more recently, Iraq and Afghanistan wars and others besides.
Many came home. Some injured and maimed, and others suffered unseen damage to their souls; they would never be the same again. Most settled back into difficult routines after experiencing the horrors of war. The RSL (Returned Serviceman's League) after WWII in particular, Legacy and the Federal Government's Veteran Affairs Department have all played their part in ensuring that all those involved were honoured in both name and resources.
Legacy has been a hallmark, the only functionary of its kind throughout the world, whose sole energy is put to ensuring that the spouses and children of those who gave their all, would receive the resource benefits that should have been their birth right. (www.legacy.com.au)
Legacy is a charity providing services to Australian families suffering financially and socially after the incapacitation or death of a spouse or parent, during or after their defence force service. Legacy currently cares for 100,000 widows and 1,900 children and disabled dependants throughout Australia.
It is totally funded by donations and Legacy week sees its annual badge sold and has become a household word and idea from childhood to the grave in Australia.
Point Tavern Memorial Service
This year for the first time, I'll be at the Laguna Quays Respite cottage on ANZAC Day. It happened this year as we have the launch of the Basil Sellers Midge Point Art Prize "flyer" on Monday 22 April at the Point Tavern.
Neil and Kaye Brooks the propertiers of The Point Tavern at Midge Point, on Repulse Bay on the Whitsundays mainland 20 minutes south of Proserpine established an ANZAC memorial whereby those who wish to gather locally on ANZAC Day might do so.
This is a well attended ANZAC Day function and like many small semi-rural communities, it has become a tradition for the locals.
Perhaps this can be best illustrated by the WWI television series titled ANZACS. The last program shows the locals gathering at the newly established Great War Memorial out of town along a country road overlooking a typical Australian rural scene. (en.wikipedia.org)
The series follows a group of young men from the district who go to war, only some of whom returned. One of the final war scenes is when the armistice is announced on the 11 November 1918. A group of surrendered German soldiers are nearby and the conversation between the Australian and German officer, reveals the common belief by the Germans, that they had been stabbed in the back at home.
Then, gathered at this rural memorial a year later, the returnees, immediate family members, relatives, the bereaved, community members, little children – they are all there – and here they are. The robust Australian politic is there for all to see in the lead up to this occasion, so typical of what we see and hear in this day and era, nearly a century later.
Private Rolly Collins who saw it right through, played by Christopher Cummins, reads the Ode. The Ode is a short verse to those who fell and its poignancy was unmistakable in this scene having followed these lads from the time they signed up into 8th Battalion of the First AIF in 1914 seeing action in both Gallipoli and the Western Front. (www.dva.gov.au)
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.
Jesus said there no greater love than when one gives their life for their friends. For the Christian, Jesus Himself is the eternal illustration.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html