April 25, 2011

Lest we Forget

It is ANZAC day here in Australia (25th April) - where the citizens of Australia and New Zealand stop and remember those that have fought for us in the wars; and those that will never return.

The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers were known as Anzac's [wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_Day]

For more details on the origin of the day please go read the blog of Major Pain (One Marine's View) who has written a great blog entry "The ANZAC Day tradition - Lest we forget" - you can read it HERE 

And every year just before ANZAC day our veterans and military can be seen selling Poppy pins and commemorative badges; and our stores sell ANZAC biscuits (check the link for the recipe). I try to get at least a poppy pin and one other to wear on my blazer.  This year my parents gave me the Rising Sun badge below that I will treasure.

I have two slightly smaller slouch hat pins that I will be sending to my Downrange USA adoptee's. I am hoping they will value them (sending the smaller ones via the post means - I hope - that it won't freak the USA/Military mail people out too much.  Seems metal in the mail = EEEK!!!)

And I have the Slouch Hat Badge above (stick pin version) that I would love to give away to a reader of this blog.

Contest rules - you need to make a comment in this blog saying you would like to be in the draw.  In a week's time I will write every one's names on a strip of paper and have a friend draw one from a hat.

Entrants can be ANYWHERE in the world (Downrange, Australia, New Zealand, USA etc) - the winner will be announced on my Blog and they will be required to supply me with a contact email so I can obtain their mail address.  They will have 1 week to contact me or a redraw will occur.

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda
And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda"
- Eric Bogle

Now when I was a young man, I carried me pack, and I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback, well, I waltzed my Matilda all over.
Then in 1915, my country said son, It's time you stopped rambling, there's work to be done.
So they gave me a tin hat, and they gave me a gun, and they marched me away to the war.

And the band played Waltzing Matilda, as the ship pulled away from the quay
And amidst all the cheers, the flag-waving and tears, we sailed off for Gallipoli
And how well I remember that terrible day, how our blood stained the sand and the water
And of how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay, we were butchered like lambs at the slaughter.
Johnny Turk he was waiting, he'd primed himself well. He shower'd us with bullets,
And he rained us with shell. And in five minutes flat, he'd blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia.

But the band played Waltzing Matilda, when we stopped to bury our slain.
We buried ours, and the Turks buried theirs, then we started all over again.
And those that were left, well we tried to survive, in that mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks, I kept myself alive, though around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head, and when I woke up in my hospital bed,
And saw what it had done, well I wished I was dead. Never knew there was worse things than dyin'.

For I'll go no more waltzing Matilda, all around the green bush far and free
To hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs-no more waltzing Matilda for me.
So they gathered the crippled, the wounded, the maimed, and they shipped us back home to Australia.
The legless, the armless, the blind, the insane, those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay, I looked at the place where me legs used to be.
And thanked Christ there was nobody waiting for me, to grieve, to mourn, and to pity.

But the band played Waltzing Matilda, as they carried us down the gangway.
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared, then they turned all their faces away
And so now every April, I sit on me porch, and I watch the parades pass before me.
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march, reviving old dreams of past glories
And the old men march slowly, old bones stiff and sore. They're tired old heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, what are they marching for? And I ask myself the same question.

But the band plays Waltzing Matilda, and the old men still answer the call,
But as year follows year, more old men disappear. Someday no one will march there at all.
Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda, who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by that billabong, who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

They shall grow not 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.


  1. You bet I want to be in the draw. And thanks for the words to Waltzing Matilda. As I understand it, Matilda is a back pack type thing and waltzing means waling with your back pack on. Correct?

    Good post anyway, and pass on my thinks to any Auzie vets you come across.

  2. AAACK! I don't know if my comment was saved! I'm a US Marine mom (newly so)and I'd like to be in your drawing. I love "Waltzing Matilda!" Thanks for posting it. Your post brought to mind the poppies our vets used to distribute; perhaps they still do, but I haven't seen them in years.

  3. I'd be proud to have a pin from an Australian friend! God bless our Australian allies. (And thanks for hosting a terrific giveaway!)

  4. Caroline, another Australian blogger left a comment on my blog and mentioned ANZAC Day...I will lift a prayer for all your brave Soldiers...past and present.
    God Bless!

  5. Bless all "the tired old heroes from a forgotten war". ...we will remember them.

    I never knew the words to that song. Great post!

    ...and heck yeah I want to be in the draw. :)

  6. Thank you for such a moving post,

    and yes, please count me in on the drawing also:)

  7. Thank you all for joining in. The Winner was drawn today (using the scientific "names on scraps of paper - tossed into a bowl & drawn out by my BFF" method)

    The Winner is SUZ

    Suz would you please contact me (paxford AT gmail DOT com)