Last November, on Remembrance Day, our family gathered at Circular Quay on a breezy evening.
Not to take in the view, which was of course splendid…
But to see a banner of red poppies unfurl over the sails of the Opera House.
This was the work of my father-in-law, P, a former member of the Royal Navy and local RSL member.
He wanted to raise awareness of Remembrance Day, and the cause of current and past military personnel from all conflicts outside of Anzac Day.
Given that our more recent veterans come back with all sorts of physical and mental stresses and frequently face a lack of support, it’s a worthwhile cause to champion.
My father-in-law requested a poppy or two since he marches on Anzac and Remembrance days. I knitted him this poppy that he can wear.
You might expect some extravagant architecture in a gold rush town. Well, you thought right.
The main street had plenty of classic Victorian architecture.
The court house was a very grand affair.
But I liked the memorial, that was beautiful with beds of spring flowers.
We’re on the final leg of our journey northbound through Europe. We’ve left coastal Oulu with Hubby’s friend W, and made our way north through more woodland, to Lapland.
On the way, we crossed many rivers. Not many signs of human habitation here, just the odd farmstead or country home like this one.
We visited a historical cabin deep in the woods. It was the hideout for the Finnish resistance fighters during World War I. There were eight men living rough in all weathers, trapping their food, while fighting against the Russians. The men must have been super tough to get through it all.
We visited a little country Lutheran church, where W’s parents got married in the 50’s.
This WWII memorial was very touching. Goes to show that people everywhere were touched by that conflict.
Spring also brings Remembrance Day. There will be ceremonies all over the country commemorating the armistice signed to end World War I. In Australia, it is also a remembrance of all those lost in armed conflict.
Sydney’s main ceremony is at the cenotaph in Martin Place. Aside from being a memorial, it was also the place where soldiers enlisted for the army in WWI.
I walk past this monument almost everyday. The simplicity and gravity of the place never fails to strike me.
I was in Canberra again over the weekend and visited the War Memorial for the first time since I was 12.
It’s a sobering experience to wander through the miles and miles of exhibits that meticulously catalogued every conflict Australia’s been involved in since the Boer War. However, the most interesting fact was a little display detailing the WWII massacre at Bangka Island, the place where my grandparents came from, and from which they had fled from probably just weeks before this took place.
The two long corridors that made up the Roll of Honour was a reminder of how many people were lost.
Some people in my group were surprised to see so many Japanese tourists at the Memorial, but I wasn’t surprised at all. After all, I have been to the Japanese musuems when I visited the Tokyo and Hiroshima. Hiroshima in particular was heartbreaking. It brought home to me that neither side got through unscathed.
War is crap whichever way you look at it.