Lest We Forget

This morning I packed the red bag with two epi-pens, an asthma inhaler, band aids and 8 tetra drinks. I also packed some water and my camera and I was ready.

The kids were excited, it’s ANZAC Day and they told their teachers they want to march with their school. So, we gathered together their uniforms and they promptly put them on. We brushed the boy’s hair and braided hers and the hats went on.

“C’mon daddy, let’s go!” They yelled as they ran out the door to get into the car. We had to drive a bit to get to the marshalling area. I remember from past years, the parking is atrocious when the main street of town is blocked off for the parade so I was a little worried as to where we would end up.

The silly thing was, I was remembering the years we would go it alone. One driver two kids, not two drivers 4 kids. Back then, we would toss-up if we would park at the end of the march route, walk back to the marshalling area and then march with the crowd, or, we would park at the start and then have to drag exhausted kids back to the car. Option two usually got the thumbs down. It was harder to take them back to the beginning after the march as they would be totally worn out, not only from the walk but also the wait to begin.

We were so fortunate today that I hopped out with the three who wanted to march at the marshalling area and Hubby then went and parked at the end of the route with the one who didn’t want to march. Best of both worlds and even better, I wouldn’t end up carrying one or two of the boys back to the car.

The excitement of seeing their school friends lined up, waiting for their turn to start was everywhere. Children from all the schools in the area were represented under their own banners and each school had their captains carrying a wreath to lay at the Cenotaph.
A digger came along the ranks, his shaky hands full of paper flags and his medals on his chest. His smiles as he handed flags to the school children were a joy to see. The pride in the generations showing their respect for the country and the men who fought visible on his lined face. It was all I could do not to go and give him a big hug thank you.

My three marching kids were lined up in height order and so they got spread out along the school line quite a way. Didn’t matter, I knew they would find me with my heavy red bag, marching along with them.

The drums warmed up and the bands began to play and a plane made the most amazing fly over. It was so low I swear we could reach up and touch the wheels on the undercarriage. The children started to walk, they waved their flags and the crowds lining the street clapped as they passed.

Watching the boys faces I saw that they were having a bit of trouble processing the noise. It has always been like this and this year I was very proud how they coped with it. The walk was at a pleasant pace, the weather was warm but with a stiff breeze from the river. It was an amazing day.

We made it to the Cenotaph and the boys were finished, totally understandable, the march was about a kilometer long, in the sun. After saying goodbye to the school principal and some of their friends we headed back to the car. But, not before the boys posed in front of an army jeep which had transported a couple of diggers along the route.

It was an amazing experience and all the kids said they will do it again next year. We got through it without any heat issues and I was pleased to be way over prepared. Our children and us were able to pay our respects to the soldiers and it felt right.

ANZAC Day, Lest We Forget

With Love and Support,

Tarja

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