The last Anzac Day Dawn Service I had been to, was at Gallipoli in 1990. It was my first trip overseas and knowing my paternal grandfather had fought there I detoured to the Peninsula on the way to Istanbul. It was an extraordinary experience for many reasons.
Since then, on Anzac Day morning I generally sit up in bed with toast and tea and read my grandfathers memoirs over and think about him. He was a gentle, gracious man of integrity and moral courage and an enthusiastic writer of letters. He loved two wives well and outlived both. He had clear blue eyes and a warm heart.
So in this, my year of turning 50, I decided to read the memoirs early and made my way to a local service. There was a chill in the dark that sharpened with the dawn, a crowd of people quiet through simple familiar words and the ache of the Last Post. No fan fare..no pomp and circumstance..just memory, respect for sacrifice, sorrow for loss.
Like many towns my birth place, Kurri Kurri has a war memorial in the Park. Such memorials are a reminder that statistics are formed from single lives of infinite value. For those who return and those who don’t individuals, families and communities are altered irrevocably. They continue to be so.