A Minutes Silence and Poppies

This is going to sound really odd, but I am really looking forward to Remembrance Day this November. Does that come across as a bit ghoulish? Compared to the skeletons and headless bodies fighting for space in the supermarket aisles for Halloween, I guess not.

Sunday, the 11th of November, marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice which ended the First World War (1914–18). On this day, as per usual, Australians will observe a one minute silence at 11 am, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts.

This year a special commemorative service will be held at my local Anzac Centenary Park. Prior to the Service a specially decorated Troop Train will arrive at the local Train Station carrying soldiers from Enoggera Barracks (on the other side of Brisbane) who will then march up to the Park to participate in the Commemorative Service, along with veterans. The march to the service will also include a contingent of horses as a nod to the Australian Light Horse.

Designed by the local Returned Services League (colloquially known as the Rissole), the train will feature the distinctive lone soldier and red poppy, symbolising the lives lost on the Western Front during World War 1. Unfortunately, all the Poppies I planted for a display in my garden have since been replaced by lettuces – not quite the look I was going for…

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It’s probably the timing that has created more interest in this date this year. With the Invictus Games in Sydney closing last night, thoughts of our service members, past and present, are fresh. And why not ? What a wonderful display of sportsmanship, goodwill, compassion, good fun and OPTIMISM – something we all seem a bit short of lately. Was that a better spectacle than the Commonwealth Games or what! ( Except for one thing. David Beckham. Please explain…….And forgive me for being churlish, but who the hell stops at a Cafe for a grated carrot?)

Young Harry Windsor and his ongoing interest in 98 year old war widow Daphne was another beautiful thing. Daphne’s husband was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously in WW2 and his medals displayed proudly on her chest is what brought the two together.

On a more personal front it’s good to have the son in law back on home soil, and my warmest thoughts are directed to the three hundred who headed off to Baghdad last week.

And Trick and Treaters : heads up, the only thing I will be handing out is Kalamata Olives and Camembert Cheese on Crackers.

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Remembrance Day, 2017

At the 11th Hour, on the 11th Day, of the 11th Month, Australians across the nation stop for a minutes silence to remember Armistice Day, which marks the end of World War 1. (1914-1918)

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My most recently read war book was Sandakan by Paul Ham. A historian specialising in military history, conflict and politics, Ham in the opening 22 pages successfully explains how the Fall of Singapore came about in 1942, where four years of high school history failed dismally.

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Wading through the 600 plus pages has been an uncomfortable journey. The story of the 2700 Australian and British Soldiers taken as Prisoners by the Japanese was for decades kept quiet by the Government for fear of traumatising the families of victims and enraging the people.

This is a horrific account of why only six Australians survived the death marches and brutality of Sandakan, Borneo.

The Flanders Poppy has long been a part of the Remembrance Day ritual, with the red flowers being amongst the first to regrow across the devastated battlefields of Belgium and Northern France. Soldier folklore has it that the red of the Poppy came from the blood of their fallen comrades……..

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Lest We Forget.

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