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Saturday, April 26, 2008

ANZAC Day and cupcakes

We too have been in Sydney - although our view was from the other side of the Harbour.

*Notice how many office lights are on those buildings. That was last night - a public holiday before a weekend - and had been on since the night before. So much for Earth Hour affecting real change...

Anyhoo, the main reason for our visit was ANZAC Day. I wrote about ANZAC Day last year, and what it means to me. This year there were fewer of Pa's group, but more family (13 all up). There were only five men from Z Special Unit, and only three of them active members from Pa's Unit. It broke my heart to see so few of them marching. When I first started going with Pa and Nan there were at least 30 men, and their wives that came to march, and then went for lunch (and lots of rum) afterwards. Now Pa's family outnumbers the members by nearly 3 to 1. Last year and this year we went to the Young Alfred restaurant in Customs House. I think it meant alot to Pa that we were all together. I get the feeling it may be the last year his Unit march.

Dick, Eric (my grandfather) and Henry

Caffeine Faerie has the poem 'The Fallen' on her site, and it prompted me to find the poem that is usually read by my grandfather's mate Bill at their wreath-laying. It is glorious and sad in equal measure.

On trails to Kokoda, On beaches to Lae,
the sacrifices called for our comrades to pay
was the price of our freedom to be here this day.
To stand here this morning, remembering why,
our comrades fell, But they did not die.
They are not dead, the men who fell,
though sounds for them the vesper bell,
and loved ones gather at the shrine,
they live in hearts of yours, and mine.
They live on mountain and in glade,
in shearing shed or place of trade.
At school, or on the fields of play,
they live, those men who marched away.
They are not dead, the men who fought.
The sons of valour, who feared naught.
Of man's devising, but who trod
the deathless path that leads to god.
Their call down bush tracks still is heard,
Their whistle in the song of bird.
Their laughter, like a wood note wild,
is heard in some Australian child.
They are not dead, but gone before,
though crosses mark on Borneo's shore,
in Markham valley and Balikpapan,
where rest those mates, who never ran.
The hills near Moresby, the valleys deep
sound no more to their trudging feet.
But they are still here, at our side.
The men who fell, but never died.
They are not dead, they cannot be.
They're a part of you and a part of me.
The friendly hand, the steadfast look,
could never perish at Tobruk.
Though seas and land and years divide,
our comrades live, they have not died.

On a lighter note, we went to visit Cupcakes on Pitt. We always stay at the Meriton on Pitt because its close to the end of the ANZAC march, and a cupcake and coffee have become traditional. I like this place as much as Kuka did when she visited in January. Although the staff/management seemed decidedly more grumpy than last year. Unfortunately I cannot provide beautifully staged photos - like this one from Kuka.

Because I was there with Lily. And our experience looked like this. She only 'eats' the icing - and most of that was up her nose...

But it was fun. And I snapped this interesting pic across the road. The windows of the building were making the most beautiful patterns on the blank wall... and with the trees and the old building etc it just looked purty.

I'd best be off. This has been a mammoth post for me. I don't want you folk getting used to it. Its just that I'd rather be writing this than doing all the washing that results from a weekend away!


Michelle said...

Excellent post! I want to be brave enough to eat cupcakes just like Lily.

Kuka said...

I think its lovely you can be with your Pa for such a special occasion.

And those cupcakes really are something, hey =)