ANZAC day again.. what does it mean to you? Do you pause momentarily? Do you watch the dawn service on the television? Is it just another public holiday, a long weekend to catch the last warm days at the beach? I hope not. While I was always aware of ANZAC day and what it meant to me, a baby boomer, I didn't actually have any relatives directly involved in the war. Or any war for that matter. And then my husband Mark told me of his late father's experiences in that terrible event..World War 1. You see he signed up at 16. He walked up to the enlisting desk and was asked how old he was. When he said 16, they told him to come back when he was 18. In his own words, "So I walked around the quadrangle and came back to the desk... I'm 18 now sir!" Sign here lad.. a shilling for signing up and away he went. London to the Western Front from where he was eventually moved to Poona in India where he ran the base dispensary. He left home in 1914 and didn't come back until 1921. He left home a 16 year old boy and came home at 23, a Captain in the army, and... literally older than his years. He rarely spoke of his time in the army, but always went to the dawn service, right up till the age of 80.. just before he passed on. He often told Mark that "War changes men" and to be gracious to returned veterans of all nationalities. Since I learned these things of Ron... well I have a new perspective of Anzac Day.
Lest we forget!