SILENCE SO CHARACTERISES THE THRONG IN THE DIM PITCH.
The barest movement underscores the reverent mood as people gather for the task of remembrance.
The cool and wafting breeze, the stiff back, the numbed feet—nothing, simply nothing, compared to the pain the soldiers faced and forfeit they endured.
Oh, the harsh sacrifice forlorn,
ushers the peace earlier forborne.
The soldiers stood and trembled,
for us, we the assembled.
They faced an end in life altogether too soon—it is recounted: in merely one serene moment six hundred and forty five plunged hopelessly to their deaths. We can’t begin to imagine that sort of horror.
This is it; it’s down to this,
this is how it’s to end!
Finish the hope, an end to bliss,
a tearful prayer to send.
With barely a moment, the microseconds ticking aggressively past, the men of war go their way, only ever now to trouble and grace our memories, this exact day. Life is such like. Losses continue to sweep in and overwhelm us, if but for a moment.
[Enters a harrowing truth]
Life cannot be more characterised than by death, for death shows us how absolutely finite the physical life is—this life which is just about everything to us.
Death it is that gives it shape,
a worldly life given to take,
Life no more things left unseen,
death comes to claim so clean.
War might be humankind at its worst, simply reeling from the atrocities of the satanic order. The weight of losses incalculable, we just thank God that the resolve of the time—for those who stood there—who stood against such evil.
Their legacy is left, intact. Legacy is all we can leave. It’s the quintessence of solemnity.
Try it now for then one day,
others will come to enjoy the play.
I don’t suppose we think it true,
our acts of course will be their glue.
As they did, their generations ago, we do now; the flame’s passed to us today. What legacy are we leaving? How will the memories of such courage, endurance, mateship and sacrifice define our present and futures?
© 2010 S.J. & S.J. Wickham.
PHOTOGRAPH: Sarah J. Wickham (taken at 0535hrs – ANZAC Day Dawn Service,