. . . After the hymn the captain up on the dais asks us to bow our heads and in a low sonorous voice he reads out the roll of honour, the names of those from this district who paid the supreme sacrifice. ‘Adamson, Brown, Baker, Hammond . . .’
Listening intently, I catch my breath as I realise most of these names are familiar int he district still. ‘McInnes, Munro, Munro, Polaski, Rowe . . .’ And some lost sons in both world wars! After the roll of Honour the Shire President from Moreton gives a short address and lays a wreath of flowers at the base of the memorial. Some people from the crowd step up and do the same. Then all the old diggers file past the memorial, each halting for a moment to stand before it with head reverently bowed, hand across his heart. And as I watch them, suddenly in my mind’s ey a vision comes to me of these old men young again, and strong, marching off to war in the full flush of their youth. I glance at Edward beside me and a chill runs through me to the very bone.
When the old soldiers (and one of two younger ones – presumably Vietnam vets) have all filed past we are asked to turn and face the flag behind. Someone from the crowd clicks on a tape recorder set up on the tray of a battered ute parked nearby and as the wind gusts around our ankles the achingly evocative notes of The Last Post ring out in the morning air, and by the time another old differ standing beside the flagpole has slowly and reverently lowered the flag, then raised it once more, I am quite unable to stop the flow of tears from coursing down my cheeks.
Judge of the nations, spare us yet, Lest we forget, lest we forget!
From For Better, For Worse and For Lunch by Christina Hindhaugh.