Apr 25, 2017

ANZAC Day 2017.

It's been a special Tuesday.

Not just because breakfast involved several defrosted hot cross buns.

Or because I managed to make it onto a bus and then straight onto a train platform without either spilling my coffee or being asked to dispose of it.

Today was an extra special Tuesday because it was Preschooler SSG's first proper ANZAC Day.  His first words this morning were 'It's ANZAC Day!!' and he knew that instead of going to preschool, we'd be taking the train into the city to watch the parade.

There was a sense of both pomp and circumstance on the platform.  We met military band members giving impromptu concerts and we saw others quietly prepare for the day with a good cup of coffee.  Veteran families had wore medals with a quiet dignity or else accompanied their veteran family members with pride and care.

And then there was a heart warmingly large number of families like my own who were taking a few hours out of their public holiday to pay their respects at the march.

With his sprig of rosemary firmly pinned to his chest, Preschooler SSG proved to be a keen participant in the parade as he gave our returned service men and women applause as they passed us on the parade.

I've usually observed the parade along George Street but with all the construction work going on there, today's route went down Elizabeth Street instead.  The backdrop of ornate buildings like the MLC Centre was the perfect touch of formality to the proceedings.

I didn't expect to be moved as much as I was by today's march.  I found myself at first tapping my feet and swaying a little to the beats of the bands but then I paused to look a little closer at the faces of those marching in front of me.  Veterans of all ages and ethnic back grounds, their relatives and the volunteers.  There was such a strong sense of unity and mutual respect in the air this morning.

Out of respect for our veterans and the ANZAC Day commemorations, none of the retailers in the city were open for the duration of the parade.  Walking the quiet arcades gave us more time to each reflect on our nation's history and what the suffering of the past has given us.

Australia has definitely not forgotten.

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