At 4:30 this morning I woke up to a text.
“Yes, in Croydon. 5.30 am.”
Changed my clothes, brushed my teeth. Got in the car and drove to Ringwood East to meet Carolyn (Ian’s mother); then we headed to Croydon for the dawn ANZAC Day service.
(Sorry about the poor picture quality – still working out how to take better evening photos.)
–ANZAC: Australian & New Zealand Army Corps.
–ANZAC Day is a memorial day observed on April 25th each year.
— “It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.” (www.awm.gov.au)
— “The Dawn Service observed on ANZAC Day has its origins in a military routine… During battle, the half-light of dawn was one of the most favoured times for an attack.” (www.awm.gov.au)
The service was well attended with young children, the elderly, and everyone in between meeting at this war memorial.
Everyone quietly laughed and talked, waiting for the start. A little boy standing with his mom and I assume grandfather loudly insisted that he remembered coming to the dawn service when he was still “in mom’s tummy.” Three policemen waved to three more policeman from the other side of the crowd. Carolyn told me about her family’s history of service and we watched as a families and individuals streamed in from all sides.
The bugle was played, the Australian flag raised. The names of those who have served and fallen from the Croydon area were read; finally, the public was invited to bring their wreaths of flowers to honor family members who are among the fallen. The service was simple and quick, which I think allows everyone to appreciate the reflection instead of shivering in the cold. I like this way of remembrance. Most people have a holiday from work and school, so children can take part in history. Whatever your stance on war itself, I think it only right to spend at least this day and moment at dawn remembering those willing to sacrifice for something they see as bigger than themselves.
The Anzac Day motto is “lest we forget.”
(There is a big event in the city, but we didn’t get out there. Apparently another aspect of ANZAC day (though unrelated, really, to war memorials) is a crazy footy game between Essendon and Collingwood.)
At the conclusion, the local veterans group (who hosted the service) invited everyone back to their office for breakfast. Carolyn and I decided to take up Hungry Jack’s on their offer of a $2 egg-cheese-bacon muffin, instead. I went home and was incredibly productive…took a walk, did laundry, took a shower, went to the bakery. If only I had the motivation to get up at 4:30 every morning, eh?
On Tuesday I had the opportunity for another early morning and iconic Australian experience – the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. Kylie, her brother David, and his friend picked me up from my house at 7. Due to evening appointments, we made the quickest trip in the history of the Great Ocean Road…but we had a lovely time getting there!
The Great Ocean Road – even just the bit I saw of it – is so many colors at once. It’s even different weather at once. At one bend the sun stomped on the breaking waves, at another bend the rain came in. The sky was white and blended into the water, only the brown rocks standing against it.
The Twelve Apostles (of which there are now only, I think, eight.) are impossible to take a bad picture of. I love the layers of rock, layers of brown and yellow, and their floor of blue-green-white salt water. Even now other apostles are being “recruited.” At different points along the cliffs you can see the shape being chipped away by wind, rain, sea, sky.
We took the coastal route to the Apostles. Pictures, lunch. Returning inland with Tiger ginger beer (ginger soda), which may be the best ginger beer of my life. I felt too busy to take a holiday, which may have made Tuesday, then, the perfect day for one!