Into the bowels of hell they went,
Intrepidly they trudged—their lives spent,
So we could enjoy freedom and peace,
And good life on which there’s a lease.
Going into battle as young men,
Far, far away from their home den,
Freedom for them was out of reach,
Whilst they fought upon that beach.
And when they flew those missions above,
Far from thought—a peaceful dove,
They all fought such a fearsome foe,
Not much certainty could they stow.
Over the seas they travelled to do,
What civilisation must hold true,
What they did for us we can’t repay,
Often their lives down they would lay.
And that leaves us with something to think,
Just how much for us they went to the brink,
Our task evermore is never to let,
Their sacrifice be barren—Lest We Forget.
What can we do, as a community of human beings on planet Earth, so many of us touched by war but ironically free, to maintain our grasp on the preciousness of civilisation?
That very question remains eternally at the forefront of the minds of veterans the world over. In Australia and New Zealand, the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) legend continues to be remembered solemnly. Our legacy of remembrance should never be forgotten. And so, against our human default to forget we go.
So many of our ancestors fought on foreign lands and never came home, and many also came home damaged from their experience. War has had a profound impact on our society and culture. And whether we believe in war or not is irrelevant.
The preservation of civilisation is the mandate. It always was and always will be.
But war is always more than a global concern; it’s inherently a personal story.
Lives are affected and the ripples of damage and loss flow outward and so many through the succeeding generations must deal with the shrapnel and fallout of a thing so far beyond everyone’s control.
And for the diggers and veterans throughout history, those surviving and those gone, we ought to salute them. For what they fight for and fought for, for our freedom, for civilisation, their spirit endures.
The moment we forget our rich legacy of loss—a thing we cannot ever hold in proper context—is the moment we are destined, as a people, to repeat such a catastrophe.
It bodes us well, as each year passes, to tip our hats and raise a glass...
Lest We Forget.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.