Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lest We Forget

Over the past week Australia has remembered her war dead in the lead up to Anzac Day. This year the discovery of the wreckage of the Sydney, sunk by the German raider, Kormoran, off the coast of Western Australia during World War II, added another dimension giving families of those lost in that maritime disaster some degree of closure.

Today driving home from my father's house under a lead grey sky, the first drops of rain splatting on the windscreen, I was listening to the poet, Ted Egan, recounting his experiences when he visited Gallipoli on Anzac Day in a touching montage of songs, poems and reminiscences. As the Last Post sounded at Anzac Cove a squadron of black cockatoos swept across the road ahead of me, heads bent low as if in a mark of respect. The last notes died away and Egan went on to describe how the next day he went into the market of the nearby town of Chanakkale commemorated in a haunting Turkish song sung in Turkish and translated by Egan verse by verse. The singer lamented how when war was declared he and his fellows were called up they had lost their youth and all that implied. It was incredibly moving.

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