Organising, socialising and remembering

Yes, it’s a bit of a mixed bag today.

Organising. Well. I got my scan results and I don’t need surgery, I’ve started physiotherapy (which is already helping) and I’m told it’ll take another 8 weeks or so but I should be walking normally again. I’ve booked a recommended hydrocortisone injection into my heel, but think that I may be cancelling it if the exercises continue to improve matters, as it’s both painful and not always effective. I was surprised to be offered my first Covid-19 vaccination on Friday (I thought it’d take a while longer), so of course I jumped at it. I’ve done a lot of reading and considering, and am happy with my decision to take it. I was one of the ‘lucky’ ones that got a few unpleasant side effects (aching bones, chills, fever, fatigue), but it lasted just a couple of days.

Socialising. Mouse has a lady friend in the neighbourhood called Lotti. She’s a small, pretty fine-boned white and tan/brindle greyhound who lives just a few streets away, and Lotti’s mum and I are good friends. Every few weeks (when the Husband is free on a Friday morning) we have the Happy Grey Social Club Coffee Morning. We meet at a local café, bring the doggos, their blankets and bowls, and the Staffs have coffee and the Greys have puppacinos. They attract a lot of admiring attention as they lounge about looking elegant, the café staff love them, they love the staff because they know where the puppacinos come from, and a good time is had by all. I thought you’d enjoy seeing Miss Lotti, who is clearly a girly girl – check out that collar 🙂 ❤

Finally, Remembering. Today is Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peace-keeping operations and the contribution and suffering of all those who have served. Today I also remember my grandfather and father, who served in the First and Second World Wars. The tradition is to attend a Dawn Service at your local war memorial, but last year the pandemic prevented us doing so and the nation lit up the dawn with lights at the end of their driveways and in their windows. This year most of us are once again permitted to attend an official ceremony, but as I’m still unable to drive to get there, I created my own Light at Dawn memorial, and Stood To at dawn to observe it as the Last Post was played all around the nation. You see here my grandfather’s war medals, including the Military Cross for Conspicuous Gallantry, and the Husband’s slouch hat from his 20 years of service in the Army reserves.

Lest We Forget

Lest we forget…

Today is ANZAC* Day

It is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.”

ANZAC Day 2020 was not like the ANZAC Day that so many of us are used to participating in. There was a Dawn Service at dawn, with wreaths laid by 4 dignitaries, but the service community and the public stayed at home. The public’s observance was not cancelled. It was just different. The millions of people around the country who would normally attend, at 6.00am stood instead on their decks, their balconies, their drives and their front yards, holding a candle to Light Up the Dawn, wearing their own or their loved one’s medals, and Stood To.**  Those who could, bugled the Last Post or piped a bagpipe lament. Millions of red poppies were placed in front lawns, grass verges and footpaths. Instead of standing shoulder to shoulder with our neighbours, we stood in sight of each other, together but apart.

As the Last Post was played during the ANZAC Day Dawn Service, we observed the minute of silence to respect and pay tribute to our veterans. Many people took a photo of how they and their neighbours had observed the day, and shared it on the RSL (Returned & Services League) Facebook page using the hashtag #STANDTO. It will be a moving testimony of how much we value and respect the sacrifice of those who served. 

I’m only an ‘honorary’ Aussie, adopted late in life, so I have no Australian forbears who served in WWI to commemorate today. My grandfather did not fight at Gallipoli, where the ANZAC tradition began, but in the killing fields of the Somme. He entered the war as a private, received a battlefield commission to 2nd Lieutenant, was wounded and spent the end of the war in a German PoW camp, while his fiancée, my grandmother, believed him dead.

These are my grandfather’s medals, normally proudly displayed, but this morning, I wore them in his memory.

On the right are three medals: ‘Pip, Squeak and Wilfred‘, which are the nicknames given to three WWI campaign medals: the 1914-15 Star; the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The medals were automatically sent out; soldiers did not need to apply, but the recipient needed to have fought in a theatre of war; they were not given for simply turning up. (The medals’ nicknames come from a popular comic strip of the time from the Daily Mirror newspaper. Pip was a dog, Squeak a penguin and Wilfred was a baby rabbit.) On the left, the fourth medal shown is the Military Cross, granted in recognition of “an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land“.

My grandfather carried a wounded comrade to safety under heavy enemy fire.

Lest we forget.

*Australia and New Zealand Army Corps

**Stand To‘ is short for Stand-to-Arms, the WWI practice of standing to arms at dawn and dusk in preparation for possible enemy attack under cover of darkness. 

Lest we forget…

The Australian Army Slouch Hat. On the turn-up is
the Australian Army Badge, or Rising Sun.
On the puggaree at front, it shows the badge of
51st Far North Queensland Regiment,
whose motto is
Ducit Amor Patriae*.

Today is ANZAC Day. All over Australia and New Zealand, in Gallipoli and northern France, at dawn today people stood – and will stand – in silence to remember and give thanks. Today, I stood with them. My great-grandfather fought in the Boer War. My grandfather fought in Flanders in the First World War. My father fought in the Second World War, landing on Sword Beach on D-Day II as a 21 year old 2nd Lieutenant. When their country asked, they stepped forward. My brother was a Reservist, as was the Husband. I come from a tradition of service, and I am proud of it. I am also fortunate, because none of those I love or who went before me were lost. So many others made the ultimate sacrifice.

To the men and women of our Armed Forces: thank you for the sacrifice you make, thank you for the freedom we take for granted, thank you for enduring the horror of war on our behalf. Thank you for showing us that mankind has its redeeming moments amidst ugliness and conflict.

To all the Diggers who have hung up their hats, we say thank you. Gone but never forgotten.

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

Screen shot 2014-04-25 at 8.03.33 AM

*The Slouch Hat shown above is the Husband’s, and I carried it for him this morning, as he couldn’t be there. The regimental motto translates as: The love of country leads me

** Not many people know the full text of this poem, and it’s worth reading. You can find it here.

Lest we forget…

Screen shot 2014-04-25 at 8.03.11 AM

To all the Diggers who have hung up their hats,
we say thank you.

To the men and women of our Armed Forces: thank you for the sacrifice you made, thank you for the freedom we take for granted, thank you for enduring the horror of war on our behalf. Thank you for showing us that mankind has its redeeming moments amidst ugliness and conflict.

Today is ANZAC Day.  All over Australia and New Zealand, in Gallipoli and northern France, at dawn today people stood in silence to remember and give thanks.

Gone but never forgotten.

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

Screen shot 2014-04-25 at 8.03.33 AM

AHQ: answering the call

Many of you know that from time to time, I make quilts and laundry bags for Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry Bags, which go to our Australian service people, letting them know that people back home are thinking of them and appreciating the work they do on our behalf.

Yesterday, I got this email from AHQ’s founder (email quoted with her permission) with an urgent call to action:

Hi all

Just a quick request. I am wanting to increase the number of Fallen Warrior Quilts we have, preferably in time for ANZAC Day. No definite plans but I know that many of the families of the 41 fallen will be together this year and there is a lot of appreciation for our Fallen Warrior Quilts and I know that some of the families who have not received one (because their loved one died before we were formed) would dearly love to. We do not have much time and there is so much on but if you have time to make a few poppy blocks and send them to ME, not Caroline, that would be great.  You just never know what we might be capable of if we try.

The tutorial for the block is here:

 http://aussieheroquilts.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/november-bom-poppy-block.html

And the postal address is in my signature block below.
Anything you can do would be great.

 Cheers

Jan-Maree

 Jan-Maree Ball
Founder Aussie Hero Quilts (and Laundry Bags)
PO Box 248, Cherrybrook, NSW, 2126
Mobile 0422227019
Email: friendsofAHQ@gmail.com
www.aussieheroquilts.blogspot.com.au

image001

 Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 7.56.07 pm

I’m making three of the poppy blocks explained in the tutorial.

Jan-Maree will collect blocks made by many, many AHQ contributors and have them assembled into commemorative quilts for the families of the fallen in time for presentation on ANZAC Day on 25 April. These quilts are always treasured and are an important way of showing appreciation and respect and support for the families left behind.

If any of you quilters out there feel able to join in, and  have time to make a very simple block or two in the next week or so, the tutorial and the address to send them to are right there. Even if you miss the deadline for ANZAC day, the blocks will be kept and used for the next Fallen Warrior quilt, so your efforts will not be wasted.

Go on, get involved and give the families left behind a poppy for remembrance…

It’s time to remember


Screen shot 2014-04-25 at 8.03.11 AM

To all the Diggers who have hung up their hats,
we say thank you.

Thank you for the sacrifice you made, thank you for the freedom we take for granted, thank you for enduring the horror of war on our behalf. Thank you for showing us that mankind has its redeeming moments amidst ugliness and conflict.

Today is Anzac Day.  All over Australia and New Zealand, in Gallipoli and northern France, at dawn today people stood in silence to remember and give thanks.

Gone but never forgotten.

We will remember them.

Screen shot 2014-04-25 at 8.03.33 AM