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Anzac day, every day

16 April 2014

Anzac day, every day

The old soldiers stand stiffly to attention as they salute the cenotaph, eyes fixed firmly ahead. The bugler begins The Last Post, that most mournful and familiar mark of respect. Not one stirs as he comes to his end, his bugle pushed down to his side. He waits. Then comes the echo – The Last Post, again, drifts hauntingly through the early morning mist on the paddock, forcing an even bigger lump into the throat of the old soldiers, the second bugler barely visible in the trees. And when his breath runs out there’s no dry eye.

This is Anzac Day and this is the way it has been, this and a thousand other forms in a thousand other places, for nearly 100 years. Nowadays, the difference is that there are fewer survivors of the many battles, now replaced by sons and daughters and their sons and daughters. And those who are left are tired and sitting, supported by sons and daughters and their sons and daughters.

But, really, nothing has changed, because Anzac Day remains the special, special day – a day for those who remain, or those who survived, to honour loved ones close to or never met, and comrades, who fell in battle and who fell after battle. It is this special day because as a nation we remember special people, and we grieve again for them. And that’s okay. Because in doing so we acknowledge the importance of being able to say goodbye.

It’s a goodbye that is replicated in scores of other forms in this country every day of the year. It’s a part of life. As funeral directors, we see every day just how important this process is. And that’s okay, too.

Lest we forget.

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