Not that long ago I was one of the handful of people who went each year to remember the fallen on ANZAC day. There would be the Returned Servicemen marching down the quiet street to the Robe war memorial and a group of ten if that, people waiting for them to arrive and the commemoration service to begin! That was in 1974-76.
Today I was out working, delivering the newspapers and noticed the large number of vehicles driving into and around the town on their way to Victoria Street from 6.00am to gather for the 6.45am march to the memorial of the fallen in two world wars and following conflicts Australian's have served in.
Fortunately I only have one pass down Victoria Street and that is early in the newspaper delivery round at 6.15am. By then the street was already filled with cars parked almost the entire length from the RSL to the Memorial on both sides, at least a kilometre! And there were people lining the footpaths to watch the returned service men and women march past and follow behind them.
My memory went back to the 1970's when that street was so empty I used to walk alongside the service men to the memorial. Except for one or two war widows I'd notice. One was an occaisional teacher at my school and she used to wait on the last street corner before the memorial then she would follow for the service.
As the men got to her corner there was a subtle straightening of the backs and the steps were all in time and the solemnity of ANZAC DAY was observed in it's spirit of remembrance.
Today I wondered if some of those men who have been doing that ANZAC DAY march over the past 30 plus years had any thought of the many years they marched along an empty street with no company except their fellow marchers and the memory of the fallen? Yet today, they marched down the same country town street filled with people to follow them to the service to commemorate the fallen.
William Charles Henry Dening; Killed in Action - World War I
LEST WE FORGET
Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff