Monday, 25 April 2011


ANZAC Day, 25 April, is probably Australia's most important national occasion.  It marks the anniversary of the first major military operation fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

Today Australians will reflect on the many different meanings of war and throughout the country Dawn Services will be observed.

The poem was sent by an Australian friend who shares my view there is no glory in war, only pain and grief.  Dialogue is far more valuable. None of our recent leaders has had personal experience of war - more's the pity - because if they had been active participants they may not be so extravagant with the use of our armed forces.


The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

'Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you ?
Have you always turned the other cheek ?
To My Church have you been true?'

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
'No, Lord, I guess I ain't
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgement of his God.

'Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.'

Author Unknown


Strathturret said...

Both my grandfathers were at Gallipoli in 1915.

I'm lucky to be here I guess!

Quiet_Man said...

Good men and women, staunch allies and friendly rivals.
May God bless Australia and New Zealand's armed forces past and present.

subrosa said...

You are indeed Strathturret. Gallipoli resulted in two of my ancestors emigrating to Australia. The ANZAC's they met inspired them and that section of the family did very well for themselves. They still do.

subrosa said...

Lovely tribute QM.

English Pensioner said...

My father was in a detachment from Machine Gun Corps which fought with an Aussie Regiment in the trenches in 1917. He always held them in very high regard, but would never say exactly why, other than that "they got on with the b.... job"

Jo G said...

Those words are beautiful Subrosa. They made me cry, not just because of the fact they connect but because we still ask so much of our military today when, on so many occasions, it is unnecessary to put their lives at risk.

subrosa said...

Aye EP, Australians have a different attitude to us. Much more laid back but the job gets done without fuss.

subrosa said...

They're very moving Jo, that's the reason I posted it.

Apogee said...

Hi SR, In the late 50's and the 60's I marched in the ANZAC parades, I was a piper in one of the bands, and I also worked with a few of the ex Servicemen.
They didn't consider themselves as hero's , just luckier than their mates who didn't make it back. As EP says , they just got on and did the job.
On ANZAC DAY they would remember their mates that didn't come back and maybe talk about them a bit but that was in the pub after the march, almost sometimes like they were still around, but just gone off for a while.

subrosa said...

Hi Apogee. Jings I didn't realise you were a wind man. Good for you.

It's taken me some years to understand the Australian attitude but I think I've nearly cracked it.

Michael Fowke said...

Anyone seen the Gallipoli film, with Mel Gibson? Pretty depressing.

subrosa said...

No I haven't seen it Michael. By the tone of your comment I don't think I'd bother.

Michael Fowke said...

No, it's a brilliant film. Just really depressing - especially the end.

subrosa said...

In that case I'll download it Michael. Thanks for the tip.

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