Five Twenty was the time the ANZAC Day Dawn Service began today. I'd say Pre-dawn Service as the sun still wasn't obvious when we returned home an hour later, but I guess it depends on your definition of dawn.
ANZAC Day is a day of public remembrance for Australians and New Zealanders. It's a day where prayers to the Christian God are allowed and tolerated in public ceremonies. It's a day where we hear God Save the Queen, the words having greater meaning when we realise she has just celebrated her ninetieth birthday and almost sixty-five years of reigning "over us" (February 2017 will mark that anniversary). It's a time when I get to hear my National Anthem sung in public, since I never attend international sport events where it might be sung, and can be excused for allowing a tear or two to escape. It's a time when New Zealand' s National Anthem is sung and its words are loaded with meaning and remembrance and hope that God will continue to "defend our free land".
It's a time to remember. And consider.
To consider those who have gone before. The men, the women, the children. For some who fought, who gave all, were little more than children.
As we left the War Memorial Court my husband reminded me that his grandmother would have been younger than I am now when she heard word that her second son had been wounded in battle. She would not have been alone. Women of all ages lost loved ones in the wars that have been fought, not just under the ANZAC banner, but wherever our countries have sent in troops. And there were the women, too, who served and lost their lives.
It's a sobering thought.
Around our two countries today, and in places such as Gallipoli and Jerusalem where ANZAC's fought in strategic campaigns, people will pause to remember.
And some of them will make ANZAC biscuits, about which a whole culture of folklore has attached itself to, and which both countries claim (seemingly without animosity but rather a spirit of union), and in which recipes differ in various measure. But it's a way of remembering ... and besides, they taste yummy!