On a day like today, I think back to my childhood.
Of days spent with my Grandpa, in the small country town where I grew up. I remember walking with him along quiet country lanes. They were special times for a shy little boy, though of course I didn't realise it at the time.
Now, I wonder what he was thinking on those walks. He was in his later years and had lived through much anguish, as had all of his generation. He had thankfully survived the First World War, training in England, yet to be deployed, when the armistice was signed. His big brother, William, was not so lucky. He was killed at Messines Ridge in July 1917.
I have copies of letters that his mother sent to the war department, pleading for information, for details of her son's resting place, pleading for the return of his personal belongings. One cannot read these letters, dated 1918,1919 and 1920 without tears welling. The helplessness of a mother, my great grandmother, a simple farm girl living in small-town Australia, just wanting to know what had happened to her son is still almost too much to bear, even after all the years.
On days like today I think back to that kind old man. My grandfather. And wonder at his strength and that of his generation.
They will not grow old, as we that are left grow old
Age will not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We will remember them
Lest we forget
The REEB is Dead; Long Live the REEB
10 hours ago