Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Memorial Day

When this happened last year, I still had too many other weird and wonderful things to write about, and I didn’t mention it on my blog.  But this year it happened again, and I had to write something about it.

Today was Memorial Day in Australia.  It’s not a public holiday, but it is honoured throughout the nation.  At just a little before 11h00, an announcement came over the loudspeaker system at work, which informed us that the Last Post will be played over the system at 11h00, and then there would be a minute of silence.

This tradition started after the First World War, and has been honoured in Australia every year since.

While the trumpet was playing the Last Post, it brought back some very real memories.  I immediately pictured scenes of wounded soldiers being brought in on stretchers at Ondangwa Air Force Base, after being wounded in contact with Swapo terrorists in Northern Namibia. 

This was early in 1989, a few months before the war finally ended.  I was lucky enough never to be in a combat situation myself, but I did see my fellow countrymen heavily wounded, being loaded into aeroplanes to be taken away for medical treatment.  Hearing that song immediately brought that scene back into my mind, without me even trying to do so.

Another scene that unfolded in my mind was one of a military funeral in Okahandja, in central Namibia.  Although I didn’t personally know the soldier who died, I was part of the Osona Prestige platoon.  This was during my first year of training in the SWATF (South West African Territorial Forces), and we were there to march in honour of one of our fallen countrymen. 

I will never forget the atmosphere outside the church when his family and friends came out of the building carrying the casket of this brave young man - a man who would have been in his forties if he was still alive today.  He gave his life to defend our country against murderous animals who would stop at nothing to take over control.  Those same terrorists today attempt to govern the country with such wide-spread corruption and incompetence that it staggers the imagination.

Hearing this sad trumpet tune reminded of things that will never be forgotten.  About people who died for their country, even though that same country now spits on their graves and their medals.

May this great country, Australia, never forget it’s history and the people who fought to defend it.  May they keep on remembering and honouring those who paid the highest price. 

It is a high price, indeed.

1 comment:

Past and Present said...

I know the first time we heard it too, it brought back feelings of how invain our boys died. Did you know that Australia fought with the English at the Boer War. It feels strange to be the enemy, looking at the names of the one's that died, you halve expect to see afrikaans names....