Anzac Day

It is Anzac Day here in Australia, in beautiful New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, Pitcairn Islands, and Tonga. It is also commemorated in Papua New Guinea and Samoa. Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance that commemorates all from those places “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”.

Today a new centre to honour our contribution to campaigns on the Western Front was opened by our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The Centre is named after General Sir John Monash, “who led the Australian Corps with outstanding success on the Western Front in 1918, including the famous 4 July 1918 victory at Le Hamel”. It is located at the Australian National Memorial near Villers-Bretonneux in France.

Having a laugh, France 1944

I do not have any photobooth photos of Australian soldiers in France but I want to share some to represent all the people who fought far from home in any war, at any time. I feel very privileged to own this group of World War 2 era photos, taken by American soldiers somewhere in France in 1944 and 1945. They evoke very melancholy emotions, which are at once full of admiration at the sacrifices made and the courage it must’ve taken to fight, while at the same time they stir a deep, deep sadness and dismay that we are still fighting senseless wars and killing our fellow men, women and children.

Above is handsome Lawler. Both images are dated 1944 and were taken on different days in France.

This is Brice or Bruce. 1945 France.

Above are two more from the same group, also probably taken in France. I know nothing about the uniforms or even if they are all in uniform. I don’t know what the pin on the lapel of one soldier indicates or if the hat Lawler is wearing indicates his rank. I hope some of the details will be filled in for me, by you.

20 comments
  1. Mike said:

    What an eloquent and heartfelt post this is. Having served as well, I have a great respect for those who have sacrificed and too often paid with their lives. I also hear your frustration with the human race and our endless capacity for stupidity and gore. That said, true evil must be met by these brave men and women in uniform or those like Hitler would have prevailed. This is a great post, articulated beautifully. Thank you.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Outstanding post, Katherine. Those men would be thrilled.

    The pin on the one guy’s lapel might indicate that he is a chaplain. They are all wearing the same jacket and that is an army jacket.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Ted! 😊

      I had wondered if that might’ve been a Modified crucifix. I imagine the chaplain had to cover all faiths and that is why it isn’t just a simple cross? Maybe not back in WW2.

      Like

  3. A terrific collection. The lapel pin cross is the Cross of St Lorraine, and was a symbol used by the Free French during WWII.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Wow, Tony! Thank you. 😄. That is great information! I might do some research and do a separate post just for that photo.

      Like

      • Check, i’m Not sure, but I think the Free French used that symbol on their flag.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes they did. It has a fascinating history (thanks Wikipedia!). I love writing about photos and sharing them as I’m always learning new things! Thanks again, Tony.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, I wasn’t sure but had seen that before. I looked, the Christian chaplain’s emblem is a simple cross.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had not heard of Anzac Day until I read your wonderful post. Both my mom and dad served in the U.S. military during WWII. Mom was a Wave and she trained navy pilots on a celestial navigator and dad was in the army, stationed in Germany. We owe a great debt to that generation. Happy Anzac Day!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Shayne. I’m super impressed that your mum was a Wave! We do owe them such a huge debt. I just wish diplomacy could stop that or any other war from happening. In the end when there has been bombing and destruction of many lives, things are always settled through talking and more talking. I wish we would skip the catastrophe part. 😢

      Liked by 3 people

  5. What a poignant post indeed, and I too so strongly wish we could learn not to fight wars.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you.

      The older I get, the more mystified I am that we cannot sort out our differences by getting together to talk whenever there is a problem!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Great set of photos full of personality. I always feel conflicted about war commemorations. On one hand, it’s important to honor the heroes who gave their lives. On the other hand, we don’t want to glorify the events, or give a free pass to the leaders who set them in motion (WWI).

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I am in agreement with with the thoughtful comment of Tokens of Companionship.

    In armed conflicts, with their trail of misery and suffering, there were neither winners or losers, just victims who are being mourned by their families.

    Weapons are the tools of violence;
    all decent men detest them.
     
    Weapons are the tools of fear;
    a decent man will avoid them
    except in the direst necessity
    and, if compelled, will use them
    only with the utmost restraint.
    Peace is his highest value.
    If the peace has been shattered,
    how can he be content?
    His enemies are not demons,
    but human beings like himself.
    He doesn’t wish them personal harm.
    Nor does he rejoice in victory.
    How could he rejoice in victory
    and delight in the slaughter of men?
     
    He enters a battle gravely,
    with sorrow and with great compassion,
    as if he were attending a funeral.

    Tao Te Ching (XXXI) – Lao Tse

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lao Tse was very wise. I’ve not read anything by him before but of course know of him. Thanks for posting that, Marcelo.

      Liked by 1 person

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