ANZAC Day

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, We shall remember them.

In the morning, we shall remember them

This morning I wake to the vivid sounds from memories of the haunting The last Post played on a Lone Bugle at the funerals of my grandfather and great Uncle, and at ceremonies every school year. ANZAC day services have taken place all around the country and in schools this week. It brings to mind all that have been lost in war, not just those tragically lost at ANZAC cove.

I live in the ‘lucky country’. But we have not been so lucky that we have not been affected by the impact of War and the need for soldiers to defend our country. In fact anyone who argues Australia is lucky because it has never been subject to war is clearly forgetting the fact that Darwin was in fact Bombed by the Japanese during World War II

Bombing of Darwin

as the Japanese Emperor attempted to build his own empire throughout Asia and the Pacific; and the fact many Australian men and women have given their lives to war in support of our allies, ultimately protecting our own country. They also forget the many bloody massacres and battles that have been hidden from us now being told as we acknowledge Indigenous people in our History books (at last).

Sometimes it is difficult the remember we have bee to and at war. The bombing of Darwin is as close as this country has ever been suffering the bloody chaos of a long drawn out war. The Japanese break through and take over our shores. I sometimes wonder what would our life be like if they had. (If you child has read Tomorrow when the War Began they will see how author John Marsden has answered this question)

If you have not been to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra,

Australain War Memorial, Canberra

you should, and be sure to take your children along with you. If not, jump online and do some research right here. Try to teach them about the ANZACS and what happened at Gallipoli. Teach them about the tenacity of the Australian Soldier. Educate them about ANZAC cove, about POW camps, about the Burma Railway, about Edward Weary Dunlop, about The Somme and the trenches of  World War One. Teach your children about conscription, and the white feather, the subbing or returned soldiers from Vietnam, and why we currently have had debate about our soldiers in Afghanistan.

 

Be sure your scrapbooks include the history of your family in times of war.  I have included those of my family who have been engaged in war in my scrapbooks – they are fondly remembered.

My Great Uncles in Uniform during World War II

My Great Uncles in Uniform during World War II

Australian children need to understand why this country needs its allies, why we engage in war that is not of our doing, and invite them to see that Australian soldiers, and supporting nurses and their reputations are part of the folklore of this land. They are the ultimate representatives of tenacity, of mateship, of being ‘Aussie’.

There is nothing nice about blood, guts, mud, sweat, death, killing enemy soldiers and dying in the process. There is plenty that is heroic about a man or woman called to serve doing their duty, following orders, attempting to save themselves, his or her fellow soldier, and from afar protect Australia from invasion by another country.

There are many films, novels and biographies about war and the more of these that our children become familiar with the more they will be able to discover and discuss man’s inhumanity to man, the causes of war, the impact or war, the way in which war today is so different from what it was on this day at ANZAC cove and question what the act of war achieves. They may well struggle with the moral question of how we justify war, why some returned soldiers have been treated as heroes and others have not, and why the role of women has in the past been neglected by the history books.

Above all, do not let them grow up thinking this country is lucky to have not experienced war. This is factually inaccurate. It has.  Australia has been at war numerous times because of our alliances which are essential given the size of this land and the coastline we need to protect from invaders. In our history we have been close to being invaded as submarines  got close to Sydney Harbour, and Darwin was bombed. It can happen again. And it will not be the so called ‘boat people’ we are warring with.

In teaching texts as an English teacher I have sadly often had to include the history of the war experience covered in the text. It saddens me that Australian pupils do not have a general knowledge about their own country history that includes our engagement in Wars that ultimately protect the ‘lucky country’ from invasion and persecution. I urge all Australians to watch or read suggested texts to educate the young about the Australian war heroes who we remember both today and on Remembrance day.

To participate in stopping the advance of an army representing a country hungry for power is heroic. Today we especially remember those who lost their lives fighting at ANZAC Cove, arguably the bloodiest of battles Australians have endured.

ANZAC Trenches

Lest We Forget.

Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget

War films and books you can watch, read and share with your children to raise their awareness of Australian War experiences:

The best films according to the Australian War Memorial

Some Texts that come to mind for consideration:

      • Gallipoli
      • Braker morant
      • The Rats of Tobruk
      • The Odd Angry Shot
      • Blood Oath
      • Changi
      • Kokoda
      • My Brother Jack
      • Beneath Hill 60
      • Paradise Road ( A must for any consideration of Women in war)

There are so many books, I will not list any, but the better ones are the biographical – the life stories of individuals, collections of letters and journals by veterans themselves.

One last thing…have a world map handy for the student…it does help them visualise thw where along with the what, when, how and why 🙂

‘Ave a Great Day

 

 

 

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Relaying for life

I have always wanted to pull an all nighter doing scrapbooking but never have. My desire to sleep is strong (whose isn’t when you get to my age?) and it really does save me being miserable the next day. However, in the words of the MC at the recent Mildura Relay for Life Event – Cancer patients cannot ‘take a break’ so to be supportive our teams had to be sure there was someone on the track  at all times. And so we did.

Being up all night, staying focussed on the task

Being up all night, staying focussed on the task

Team leader Sandra scraps while not walking by torchlight

Team leader Sandra scraps while not walking by torchlight

Darkness brought a whole new look to displaying how we remember.

Darkness brought a whole new look to displaying how we remember.

There was life in our tent all night for anyone who cared to to stop and say hello and chat about how we preserve and share our photos and stories.

Physically I am a partial wreck with an arthritic knee and degenerating spine so walking lots of track laps is beyond me.  I am glad no-one was comparing lap times! Steady and slow got me around plenty of times.  There was a short nap in there as we also relayed through our sleeping tent but I put in my share of laps for the team and spent most of the rest of my time encouraging relayers to come to our tent and see what we do.

One of our customers is a survivor, proudly completing the laps she could, enjoying the scrapbooking and showing us the courage and hope needed.

One of our customers is a survivor, proudly completing the laps she could, enjoying the scrapbooking and showing us the courage and hope needed.

People who suffer cancer are everyday heroes  They show the rest of us the meaning of the phrase ‘fight back’ and for there families ‘Remember’ is significant. The keyword for our Mildura event was ‘celebrate’.

Display

Relay for life - Celebrate

Relay for life – Celebrate

Celebrate your life, your story, your way adorned our home

Celebrate your life, your story, your way adorned our home

As a scrapbooker I completely relate to remember and celebrate. I am grateful fightback has (touch wood) not been necessary for any of my family. However, we all have something worth remembering and celebrating and being hopeful about Storybooks (traditional or digital) allow us to do that through sharing the story of a patient, survivor or carer.

Cancer patients, their carers, and those who have been lost to the disease all deserve the recognition that comes with hope for recovery, remembering the fight back and celebrating what we love about the individual. Emotionally it may be difficult to remember, to take photos, but journalling helps to celebrate the heroes and creates an outlet for personal emotional wellbeing when cancer becomes part of your life.

Our team was made up of  consultants and scrapbookers.

Customers joined us to both walk and scrap. We are grateful for their contribution.

Even consultants and their babies joined us to both walk and scrap. We are grateful for everyone’s contribution.

A customer is over the moon with the place and punch tool!

A customer is over the moon with the place and punch tool!

I would love to be celebrating meeting  our fund raising goal. In that area we lagged – but I hope we are forgiven having been first timers.We all sought sponsorship and attempted to raise funds through a raffle and hope bag decorating.

A central message of the event - Hope and remember via the candle lit track

A central message of the event – Hope and remember via the candle lit track

Visitors came to our tent to use out tools and embellishments to decorate their hope bags

Visitors came to our tent to use out tools and embellishments to decorate their hope bags

We also offered 10% of income on sales from the event. Our approach needs a little rethinking as we didn’t raise as much money as we would have liked and we discovered we do need to start earlier on this important task.

Most people at the event were walking, remembering, honoring, or sleeping. Purchasing the materials with which to remember or exploring the healing value of recording and celebrating the stories through scrapbooking was not on their mind. I get that 🙂

We did perhaps go about it in not quite the right way. However, now we have done this event the first time we learned a lot. Our core message – to celebrate your life, your story, your way has a great deal of meaning for those dealing with cancer in their lives, be they sufferer, carer or family and friends. I still believe we have something to offer this event.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the event not because of the walking or scrapbooking by gaslight (which by the way was fun!)  but because the act of celebrating, remembering, and being hopeful are central to the reason for doing what I do. It was very humbling to be among those whose lives have been seriously affected by cancer.

I believe in the healing powers of story and journal, in hoping for recovery or dealing with grief and sincerely hope all those affected by cancer take the time to record the stories of the heroes in their lives.  I hope that at least for some the idea of scrapping the story of the journey will be remembered and they know they can turn to us for help with this task as it can be quite emotional.

The team carry our team banner for the final laps of the event

The team carry our team banner for the final laps of the event

I would like to finish with resounding applause for the organisers of the Mildura event. It was hugely successful and we had a wonderful time doing some good for the community.