It is already a few days ago since Australians remembered those brave men and women who fought for freedom and who served our country. While ANZAC day has its origins in the war at Gallpoli (Turkey), this day is now also used to remember all our soldiers who fought in all the wars that Australia was part of.
My ANZAC morning began by viewing the TV broadcast of the memorial dawn service on the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. It brought many memories back to me and I was moved again by the magnitude of the task given to those few poorly-trained soldiers who fought against all the odds and WON - they had right on their side! The Kokoda Track was one of those places where, according to those who were there and who reported on what happened in the war against the Japanese, the words bravery and courage fail to adequately describe the dedication and heroic acts of our soldiers.
The most recent book (2004) that tells the Kokoda story is written by Peter Fitzsimmons and is well worth reading. Both Carol and I very much appreciated this account, even though the PNG Pidgin could have been better. Nevertheless, it brought back memories to us of our time in PNG, a time when many of the war relics were still very much in evidence in Rabaul, Lae and Port Moresby. As I (Carol) read this I remember one day when the children were sent home from school after an unexploded WWII bomb was found in the playground! Our first visit to the Kokoda Track was when we lived in Port Moresby. Here is a photo of Brenda and Mark in 1970-1 at one of the memorials, at what we know as McDonald's Corner:
There is probably no better place to get a feel for the magnitude of the sacrifice and the number of lives lost - both Australian and Papua New Guinean, than at the Bomana War Cemetery. Strangely, this was one of our favourite places to take the kids when we lived in Port Moresby. It is one place that the family well remembers. For us, it was always a place of contemplation and serenity. The gardens are magnificent and the headstones are uncanny in the way they are 'plumb' straight.
On a recent visit to Port Moresby, I revisited this special place and leave you with some photos that hopefully will give you some idea of ANZAC day and why it remains so important to us.
The following photo is a tiny section of the memorial on top of the hill that records the names of those who gave their lives, but whose remains have never been found:
Even so, it is interesting to note that even now aircraft are found in the jungles and the crews are buried with full military honours.
More recently, we visited the site of the first ANZAC day in Gallipoli (Turkey). As we reported in one of our blogs about our visit to Turkey, Gallipoli filled us with emotions that were very powerful and caught us both by surprise. So, as we conclude this chapter on our blog, we leave you with images of ANZAC Cove and the cemeteries in that area where our brave diggers fought and gave the ultimate sacrifice to their country.
I can't help reflect on the ultimate sacrifice for all mankind back some 2000 years ago in the person of Jesus Christ. Our country is free because of the sacrifice of our soldiers - a debt we will never be able to repay. At the same time, we have received eternal life as the result of Jesus' sacrifice that set us free.
Finally, Bougainvillea at Bomana War Cemetery.
A final comment. We will be off to China on Thursday and will not be posting any new chapters until after our return. But, wait for what we hope will be another 'spectacular journey'