April 25, 2005

ANZAC Day 2005: Assembly of Marchers

some just appear from nowhere
like z-force
if there was one
spines all straight back pains left at home
hard men
scanning the crush for an aging match
to memories of youth

some with medals attached
wander up
one at a time
deposited three hours early
- by daughters in Japanese cars -
to avoid traffic jams
each man vowing to be ready by 2pm
one light beer only no two-up and
no mates invited home
but as they drive off each car receives
a hip flask salute

most come by bus or train
medals in pockets - an unwritten rule-
to meet old mates at 'their regular boozer'
recall deeds done long ago
and comrades-in-arms, now gone
and share the pinning-on
of honour recognised

the remainder stumble from RSL minibuses
arm-locked agglomerations of men
their smoke-weary eyes pealed for portaloos and mates
in that order
the true survivors of
the dawn parade and gunfire breakfasts
bacon sarnies beer and rum.

as the hour approaches
sad words are whispered:
No ANZACs on parade


Notes for foreigners/farang/howlee/gaigin/poms etc:

ANZAC: Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, The original ANZACs fought at Gallipoli Turkey, in WW1, where the brave ANZACs were massacred

Anzac Day: Australian public holiday, 25th April every year, to remember/commemorate those who died in the Service of their country (not just Australia and NZ), and those who survived. Most Australian cities have dawn services. Major cities have marches (Sydney has 250 000 odd). Some 20000 attend in Gallipoli. In New Zealand, less attend, because they had conscription, while Australia had an all volunteer force.

TAKEN BY MANY AS MARKING OUR INDEPENDENCE FROM 'MOTHER ENGLAND'

Z Force: A supposedly secret strike force
Two-up: A gambling game

Medals in pockets: the custom of not wearing uniform/parts thereof in public transport

RSL: Returned Servicemen's League (or one of their the licensed clubs)

Sarnie: Sandwich

Posted by alan at 7:59 PM