ANZAC Day is upon us and it is a time where we stop and give honour to those who have sacrificed for our freedom. Those who protected our cherished way of life so that we could continue in peace and safety.
Both my parents were returned soldiers. My father died at the age of 88 and my mother died in January 2016 aged 96. As my four sisters and I finalised mum’s belongings we were in for a few surprises. We were well aware of mum’s artistic talent, her love for painting, but we were not aware of her poetic prowess. We uncovered copies of poems she wrote all the way back to 1941.
With ANZAC Day upon us, it is with gratitude and honour that I would like to share one of mum’s poems with you. It is about a sister’s love and longing for her older brother who is away in the jungles of Papua New Guinea defending our way of life. 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.
Dedicated To My Brother Noel
Tonight I am so lonely, my thoughts are far away,
I think of a dear one who left, one year ago today.
He was taken from his home, from a sweet and loving bride
Sent to an outpost in the jungle, where perils lurk on every side.
Tho’ the days are getting longer and the heartache more severe,
We pray for his return as we gently brush a tear.
Tho’ the waiting may be hard and our hearts are slowly breaking
We trust God will bring you back and ease the lonely aching.
At night when I say my prayers, I thank the Lord above
For the love of a worthy brother and the right to return that love.
I ask Him to protect and guide you from harm’s dangerous path.
Give you courage when the odds are great, withstand the foe’s avenging wrath.
I pray for the patient wife, whose love is pure and evergreen.
I ask Him to bless the footsteps of a baby son you’ve never seen.
He will carefully guide you o’er the perilous trial of war,
Gently guide your footsteps on the path to peace evermore!
And when that day has come, dear brother, smiles and tears will welcome you:
With open arms they’ll take you in, to begin your life anew.
Melba Reynolds 1941
We take so much for granted these days never stopping to show gratitude. We forget the sacrifices of those who went before us. This ANZAC Day let us remember them and let us say Thank You to those who returned. Go out of your way to find a returned soldier from which ever conflict they served in, and thank them remembering the pain of those who waited at home for their return.
This coming National Day of Thanks, make sure you thank one of these unsung heroes. For more information about Australia’s National Day of Thanks go to www.austhanks.org.au