Today, like every other 25th day of April, we made our way to the tiny little town of Toorbul to take part in their annual Anzac Day Service. A beautiful, heartfelt service that although smaller than most, continues to evoke a larger than life spirit in each of those loyal Australians who so proudly attend.
Today however, more so than other years gone by I found myself walking away with an overwhelming sense of both admiration and appreciation for the fallen; for the sacrifice that each and every one of those soldiers has made and for the sacrifice that so many others continue to make, day in and day out.
Today more so than any other day, I was overwhelmed with pride.
Unlike the naive, four year old me who so happily attended that very same Anzac Day Service, I was no longer carelessly marching through the streets, just to reach a fire shed filled with the promise of endless amounts of morning tea. Instead, it seemed that the twenty-two year old me had somehow developed a newfound understanding of the true spirit behind April 25th. It seemed that it was no longer the fire shed filled with morning tea that had me overwhelmed with emotion, but was now something much greater.
Instead, it was the feeling in the pit of my stomach as I proudly marched along to the sound of those bagpipes. The feeling of watching those people appear from the comfort of their own homes, just to pay their respects.
The feeling of standing there with your head held high, watching our flag float so beautifully in the breeze. The piercingly treasured sound of the bugle and the way that every time, almost instantly, the deepest of emotions flood through my body.
The feeling upon hearing those magical words of The Ode and the way that every time without fail, the simple act of observing one minutes silence would always take me back; back to the bravery of each and every one of those men who so willingly fought for our freedom that day. Back to the courage of each and every one of those soldiers, the overwhelming strength of the wives that were left behind and the faith of the children, left praying that their fathers would safely return home.
Today however, unlike other years gone by, I have come to realise that whilst Anzac Day is indeed a time to remember, it is also a time to celebrate our freedom and a time to give thanks to all of those countless soldiers who so bravely gave the ultimate sacrifice; a sacrifice that despite our unwavering gratitude, no amount of Anzac Day parades could ever fully repay.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Let We Forget.