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Remembering

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Lest I forget.

Tomorrow, ANZAC Day, is when we remember the Australians who served in all theatres of war since World War 1.

I sit here today with my Dad's five war medals beside me.  
They were the only thanks he received for participating in World War 2 in Ceylon and the Middle East.
His personal legacy of service was having to live the second half of his life classified as Totally and Permanently Incapacitated.

I also think of my gentle-natured teenage mate who at age 20 drew the short ballot straw and was sent off to fight in Vietnam.  He saw and experienced things there which took away his sense of fun and humour, and sent his mind to a place which never again needed my close friendship.

Additionally, I have enormous gratitude for all the young Aussie men responsible, under appalling conditions, for repelling Japanese invasion forces in WW2 at our front doorstep, on Papua New Guinea's Kokoda Track in spite of inept high level military command and support.

My allegience to Australia does not however preclude me from also giving compassionate thought to the 100,000 Japanese young men who died in the PNG conflict.

They, just like our own front line soldiers, were simply pawns in the ugly game of human conflict.

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About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

20 responses »

  1. Well said, GOF. Lest we forget.I just visited my neighbour, Merv. He's 89 now, and fought at Milne Bay when he was just 19. He says he doesn't go to ANZAC parades because they bring back too many painful memories of mates that he lost.

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  2. He says he doesn't go to ANZAC parades because they bring back too many painful memories of mates that he lost. Thanks Snowy. I can understand that. I have never been involved in any conflict but the whole business fills me with sadness for those who were.

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  3. The Australians were the real fighters and defenders of their people. Unlike the British that withdrew their forces from Asia Pacific.

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  4. Nice tribute GOF. My cousin went to Vietnam as a teenager and came home a crushed man. Lest We Forget.

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  5. I'll always have a special spot in my heart for the diggers who did all the heavy lifting and got very little in return. Not that they asked; no, these men and women understood honour, humility and service. They all did/do out of a deep sense of fair play and duty, and don't ask for anything in return. Not even gratitude. But that's where we come in. We remember and honour every single one of them.Lest we forget.

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  6. A very touching tribute, GOF! I did a post recently about my father, at the age of 85, being flown with other surviving WWII vets to see the new Memorial in Washington, DC, USA. It was the thrill of this part of his lifetime. When I was at is home last, he had several enlarged pictures of the event and of him standing in front of the memorial. What brave men, from any country, who go to war to fight. I cannot imagine seeing what they see, or feeling the all encompassing fear. I am so proud of my father. It makes me happy that people come up to him, when he has his WWII had on from his trip, and they shake his hand and thank him for his service to our country!!

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  7. Timelt reminded and well said. I too think of both sides of any conflict indeed just pawns. We don't really seem to learn though do we…sigh

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  8. Thank you for visiting, and for your kind assessment look4edmund.I would like to think that people of all nations are equally capable of bravery and heroism. I am not sure whether warfare provides the best test for determining it

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  9. Thank you Emjay.My cousin went to Vietnam as a teenager and came home a crushed man. Lest We Forget. I understand the sadness you must feel for your cousin.

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  10. I think the tragedy extends even further with current governments using ANZAC Day as a pro war event. Something that has the opposite purpose than what was originally intended.The Futility of war seems to have been buried by the political correctness of blindly following other countries into their designer wars. I have just been reading Spoken from the Front which is accounts given by British Servicemen and women in Afghanistan.The same old tricks are still being played by todays pollies and Voters still give the same support. Only the weaponry has changed.Thanks for bringing this back to the human element, GOF.

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  11. I'll always have a special spot in my heart for the diggers who did all the heavy lifting and got very little in return. Me too Ninja, and I did not understand precisely how much heavy lifting was done by untrained ill-prepared diggers until I watched the first half of the ABC Kokoda story. Having to dig a trench in the mud with your hat to avoid bullets because nobody thought to equip them with shovels!Thank you for honouring them with me on this special day.

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  12. Thank you Freedom…..I read your story about your Dad visiting the memorial.It must have been a very special moment for him.I do not get carried away waving an Australian flag on this day.It is my moment to think about the futility of war. There are too many losers to ever justify the winning.

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  13. We don't really seem to learn though do we…sigh Thank you FD……perhaps a slight glimmer of hope in that we have not had a World War for 65 years

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  14. Thank you Pete for your accurate assessment of the situation today.I find little to celebrate on this day….I simply recognise with humility the sacrifices made by so many who defended our independent nationhood against those who sought to threaten it.

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  15. Yes, GOF, war is sad indeed.

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  16. Ah. A traditionalist. Not many of us left me thinks.

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  17. War is horrible, just appalling and the sad thing is that the decision to go to war is taken by men who will never be on the front line. I have my grandmother's first husband's medals. He was in the air force in WW2 and when he was shot down over Hook of Holland she received the standard medals you get for being killed in action. What they didn't get was a special medal for having participated in a suicide mission, which was what theirs was, an actual, real suicide mission. He knew it because he told her before he left the last time that he wouoldn't be coming back. But it wasn't good war propaganda, to be sending young men to die deliberatly, so it was all hushed up. Much as the extent of the injuries sustained by British troops in Afghanistan today are kept out of the public eye, Nothing changes and nothing improves.

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  18. Thanks for your thoughtful response Vicola and I am sorry that your family has also suffered loss from war. You are so right about information being hidden from the public.Similarly, we Australians were led to believe in the voluntary compassion shown to Australian soldiers in New Guinea by natives during WW2….lots of pictures of "Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels" stretchering out our injured soldiers across rough terrain…….the story now emerges that we rounded the villagers up and threatened to shoot them if they did not carry out the casualties. War is so, so ugly.

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  19. Blessings to them all. My uncles never told WWII stories, either. My cousin spoke of Vietnam but he didn't mean to do…he'd think he was still there sometimes. It was frightening as a small kid but gave insight that is the stuff of nightmares.

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  20. It was frightening as a small kid but gave insight that is the stuff of nightmares. Thanks m-t…..seems no generation is immune to the pain of war.

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