NOTE: It is April 2013, I have been home in Sydney, Australia for almost 3 years now and I couldn’t possibly do justice to the last few months of my adventure by trying to remember the details of what / who I encountered, and my associated thoughts and feelings. I will bring my account to a close by sharing the photographic documentation of the remainder of my journey, as well as a few explanatory words.
Thanks for reading.
LEST WE FORGET
I had never felt the overwhelming desire to visit Gallipoli and pay my respects, but I’m so glad that it is where I found myself on Anzac Day 2009.
During the very chilly and jam-packed dawn service, the Defence Minister’s call to honour the fallen soldiers felt empty to me. I couldn’t help but think that surely the best way to honour the dead from wars of the past is to not send the living to die in pointless wars of the present, such as Iraq.
Once the sun had risen, I said goodbye to the bus loads of tour groups and set out on the King Brown to visit many of the memorial grounds spread out over the peninsula. The solitude afforded me by my mode of transport made for a very peaceful and solemn experience that surprised with the deep emotional impact that it had. As I walked through the colourful gardens, set amidst the most amazing scenery, I eyed several of the thousands of memorial plaques. A depressing trend soon became apparent; Aged 20, Aged 21, Aged 19 – all of these boys’ lives had been cut so violently short. There was so much that they would never have a chance to experience.
I once heard a man say that the ANZACs fought and died so that he wouldn’t have to; I now felt such gratitude to these boys that I was able to experience all that I had experienced and for every experience to come.