This is my father [front right] Alexander Gray marching with his mates in Sassafrass – Dandenong Ranges, Victoria
It was just a bunch of blokes who decided to walk to remember their mates who no longer can. So with the local coppa driving behind them to stop the traffic running over them, the bellow was “Righto you Blokes form some kind of order and let’s do this with a bit of decorum . Right by your left and HARCH!!!”.
I stood with the collection of family and the startled shoppers and those who stopped traffic in their cars and got out to watch and applaud and show true respect for the brave who gave their all to preserve our way of life…. and I cried with pride.
This wasn’t a huge parade with bands and servicemen and banners and cheering crowds, this was the reality of the reason to march…. this was personal …. a bunch of blokes who marched for their fallen mates.
In addition I was brought to remember the pre-dawn meeting of the regiment I was married into as the men there would gather at 3:30am to say a prayer before they moved out to go to the Melbourne parade….[steeled with a mug each of black coffee liberally laced with rum!]
There was no formality about this 3:30am gathering just the servicemen automatically standing on parade with a man’s gap in between them to represent a hundred fallen diggers. There were no barked orders just a gathering and then the man elected by the troops would calmly say a simple made up prayer of thanks to the blokes who’d gone before and fallen in the line of their duty.
I felt privileged indeed to witness this collection of soldiers give their own thanks for the men who served trained like them and lost their lives. Many of these tough soldiers would be teary eyed at the end and that would be my undoing. at the end of the prayer the second year I was witnessing, one of the men began to sing “Amazing Grace” and then “Advance Australia Fair” and I was urged to sing with them. They were the nicest renditions I have ever heard and been honoured to be included in.
These days of remembrance are to also thank the men and women who currently train and serve to protect our way of life … and here in Australia this life we have is glowing bright and free!
☼ My great uncle’s WW1 memoirs I wonder if Dad thought of him also when he marched. ☼
Thank you for dropping by to meet my Dad and his Service men cronies!
◘ Lest We Forget! ◘