ANZAC Day is a time when we stop and give honour to those who have sacrificed for our freedom. Those who have protected our cherished way of life so that we could continue to live in peace and safety.
Both of my parents were returned soldiers. This year we are reminded to honour our women in service, and with that in mind it is with gratitude and honour that I would like to share with you one of mum’s poems she wrote while serving in WWII. It is about a soldier’s wife and gives a glimpse of what they went through when their husbands were away fighting for freedom. I share this poem with you because many of us do not know what life was like back then and what a toll it took on families, so many families who never saw their loved ones return home. To those who returned and those who did not, we say Thank You.
I gaze upon my lonely world
And dream of the days that are gone
When we wished on a star as it fell from afar
Those happy days in Atherton.
But deep in my heart I knew
That the time would come to part
And I would taste the life of a soldier’s wife
With a bitter ache in my heart.
For she must fight her fight alone
Against bitter loneliness and despair
Be faithful and true, for he’s faithful too
And his is a hard lot over there.
So I’ll gaze into the world of tomorrow
And dream of happiness to come.
By the old wooden gate, I’ll watch and wait,
For the day my dear Bob comes home.
Melba Burman 1944
This poem speaks of the loneliness that a soldier’s family feels while their loved one is away at war. But loneliness is not relegated to just a soldier’s family, it is felt by many of those around us each day who put on a brave face, while most of us are never aware of their plight.
In the mad rush of life today there doesn’t seem to be time to stop and show gratitude to others, or to look past the brave smiles to the loneliness within, and be an encouragement to someone else. This ANZAC Day maybe you could go out of your way to find a returned soldier, man or woman from which ever conflict they served in, and thank them. Remember the pain of those who waited at home for their loved ones to return, and look for the brave smiles that so much need to know they are not alone.
Australia’s National Day of Thanks is about more than just one Day a year. It is about expressing in unity on one day a year a way of life that we all should be living – a way of life that expresses gratitude, and encourages others.
Robert J Burman
National Day of Thanks