Lest we forget….100 years this year since the Great War began….
The solitary notes of the lone bugle rang through the dark,
piercing the air with such poignancy that the crowd was silent.
Not even a hushed whisper.
Just silence. And the bugle.
As the first rays of sunshine cast a golden glow
over the crowd, fading out the silveriness of the crescent moon,
I looked around to see who stood beside me
in the half-light.
There were some in uniform,
but most were in brightly coloured coats.
There were some who were old,
but most were in their youth.
All stood silently, reflecting.
With the long dark shadows of the hour before dawn
casting their icy coolness in the early autumn air,
and chilled fingers thrust into warm coat pockets,
we had gathered, with 50,000 other living souls,
to watch the sun rise over the Shrine of Remembrance,
for the Dawn Service of ANZAC day.
And while this year marked 99 years since the Australian and New Zealand
soldiers had waded ashore in the Gallipoli Peninsula,
in an horrific event which would change our country's history and identity forever,
so it was especially poignant;
the thought struck me that exactly 100 years ago, on April 25 1914
the world had absolutely no idea of the scope of change which would jolt it
a mere few months later.
Because to the imagination of a person alive on this day 100 years ago,
how could they have possibly dreamed of the weapons and transport
which were about to be invented,
or of the advances in medicine which would occur,
let alone of the changes to society.
It seemed almost ironic that as thousands of smart phones
snapped the images of the service this morning,
reflecting a world in which we share information on a scale never known before,
much of the technology which drives our modern communication
only developed as a result of the demands of war.
Advance, but at what cost to humanity?
So while today is one of reflection for all those who have served,
it's also very much a day to reflect upon those who now serve,
because the world would be a very different place if they had not.
We have the luxury of freedom in so many countries,
because of their generosity, bravery and the best of human spirit.
And that is something that we must never forget.