Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Experiencing the Anzac tradition

When my alarm rang at 4.30am (on this, a day off from work) I didn't really feel like getting out of bed. But along with thousands of other presumably like-minded people, I decided in comparison to the sacrifices Australian soldiers have made, one morning without sleep was a small contribution.

That's how I found myself at Perth's Kings Park watching the Anzac Day Dawn Service. Not a lot happens: various representatives of veterans lay wreaths at the state memorial, the Last Post is played, a minute of silence is held, and a speech is made. The audience mostly watch the service on huge screens with live coverage now, since the numbers have grown too big for the area directly near the memorial. Yet this crowd was so quiet that when a door at the nearby cafe was opened, everybody heard it and turned.

In class this week, I had my 16 foreign students learn the Ode by heart and perform it in small groups. I hope some of them were in Kings Park watching when it came up on the big screen:

They shall grow not old
As we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them
Nor the years condemn
And at the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them

Lest we forget

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