When we collected my 7 year old grand-daughter from school yesterday, we talked about ANZAC Day being a ‘holiday’ today and what it means.
“Has anyone in our family been in a war, Nanna?”
I answered that my daddy was in the British Royal Air Force but actually, started as a pilot in an Australian Air Force Squadron, stationed in England: Flt Lt J.A. Forde D.F.C. – Pathfinder Force 1942-1946.
Ist left: Flt Lt J.A. Forde D.F.C. – Pathfinder Force 1942-1946
2nd Lef Back row: Flt Lt J.A. Forde D.F.C. – Pathfinder Force 1942-1946
Flt Lt J.A. Forde D.F.C. – Pathfinder Force 1942-1946
“Is he still alive, Nanna?”
“No, sweetie, he died a long time ago. He was my daddy, so your Great Grand-daddy…”
“In the war, Nanna?”
“No, sweetie, he was lucky. He did meet your daddy though, when he was a very little boy.”
As I was trying to rationalize all the grandparents Sonja is lucky to still have in her life, I was thinking of those she doesn’t… and why we call them ‘Great’. It occurred to me, they’ve all earned that title, whether they served in the war or managed to survive it as civilians.
I honestly don’t know which would be worse; those able to go and fight – do something about the threat or those who had to wait (often starving and bombed out of their homes) for those loved ones to return. Not knowing (sometimes for years) if they were even alive or dead.
I think my dad’s generation have earned the title ‘Great’ and will try to explain why I think so, to Sonja, later in another of our very precious conversations.
And we will remember them,
brave soldiers all
who raised the trumpet
and answered the call,
marched in straight lines
to the war, in tin hats.
How many, these days,
have the courage for that?
Can we take heed and listen,
learn lessons or care?
And never send our young people
to die ‘over there’?
Frances Macaulay Forde © 2003
#ANZACDay #LostFamily #LovedOnes #Heroes #BraveSoldiersAll