rupert brooke

Blow Out, You Bugles

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

— Laurence Binyon, For The Fallen

It's ANZAC Day. To be exact, it's three in the morning, and in about an hour and a half, I am going to get up and get ready to go to the Dawn Service. So yes, I should be asleep, but for various reasons I am not, and one of those reasons makes me very happy indeed, and is also relevant to the day.

I speak quite often on my blog about the Dread Pirate, and the fact that he is off buccaneering. Those who know me, and said DP, are aware that he has not exactly been sailing the seven seas, but has in fact been in rather more of a landlocked location - but as for rip-roaring adventures - well, those I can definitely attest to (some slightly more rip-roaring than I am personally comfortable with, may I add).

It must be said, however, on this occasion, that he is more on the side of Her Majesty's forces than fighting under the auspices of the Jolly Roger.

And thankfully today - well, even pirates get to come home to their family and friends if they are fortunate - and even more fortunate for their family and friends, they get their pirate back in one piece. That is something I will be forever grateful for.

I am obviously massively proud of someone I care very much about. He has served not only with distinction and courage, but with conviction. He was true to his personal beliefs, to his mates, and to the ethos of the Australian Defence Force. To me, this sums up the ANZAC spirit, and so it is incredibly appropriate that he gets to return home on April 25.

Sometimes, a bit like other occasions, ANZAC Day seems to become more about the trappings and the ra-ra than what it truly represents. When it comes down to it, what we are talking about is remembrance. Remembrance and literally not forgetting; not forgetting not only those who have died in past and current conflicts for the rights of those who couldn't defend themselves, but not forgetting those who are out there now. Because we are still going. And sometimes, if you watch the news - particularly the commercial channels - you'd be hard-pressed to realise this. I have, over the past six months, mentioned in passing conversation to acquaintances where the Dread has been. And to my resignation - unfortunately not my astonishment - more than once they have said 'where's that?'

So today, if you are going to a service, or watching a parade on TV, or even eating ANZAC biccies, don't just think of the past - even though that is important.

The ANZAC spirit is alive and well, and out there fighting hard, and doing it bloody tough in most cases, in our amazing men and women of the Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force. And doing it despite most people not thinking much of - or thinking much about - what they do.

364 days out of 365.

Lest We Forget.

And welcome home DP. With immense gratitude. And equally immense pride.