Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We Shall Remember Them

It's Remembrance Day.

A day to remember the fallen in conflicts past--those who gave their lives to make Australia and the Commonwealth what it is today. I'm not sure why, but I can never hear the Last Post without getting a lump in my throat.

In my career I've had the chance to meet some incredible people and witness some amazing sights for Remembrance Day. One of the first was when I was a student journalist interviewing one of the original Diggers (from World War One) in a soldiers' home at Kensington. He couldn't remember what he had for breakfast, nor what he had done the week before, but he could remember all too well the battles that had been lost and the mates around him who had fallen. He was brave and sweet and noble. He was very old then, and I was very young. But I'll always remember him.

I also remember working as a radio journalist for a top-rating FM station and interviewing the then boss of the RSL. He'd fought in Vietnam and had his own tales of war. I wish I'd kept a copy of the package I put together for that day, using songs our listeners would have known well, interspersed with stories they wouldn't. When I heard his voice reading the Ode of Remembrance going to air at 11:01, I cried like I was hearing it for the first time--like that sacrifice had just been made for me. I'll always remember that.

One of the sweetest Remembrance Day memories was as a TV chief of staff on a lean and quiet Sunday. A 21-year-old sports reporter by the name of Tom Rehn asked if it was okay to head to an RSL club so he could play the Last Post for them. He was allowed to go on one condition: that he play it for us in the newsroom as well. I vividly remember watching the amusement and fascination on the faces of my workmates turn sober with respect and deference. They came from all over the building, summoned just as though he'd been playing Reveille. It was eerie and haunting and beautiful. The performance became a bit of a newsroom tradition until Tom headed east to greener sporting pastures. But I'll always remember it.

Today I remember the 102,000 Diggers and ANZACs killed, as well as those still serving in conflicts, wars and other arenas across the world. I am grateful they were willing to do what cost them so much. In my prayers I'll remember them.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)


  1. Great thoughts. Wish I was there in the newsroom with you. Would have been amazing and sobering I am sure.