Dad on Anzac Day
My dad was a soldier, from the day he enlisted till the day he died; the army was his blood.
On Anzac morning, at four years old, I would run to the front of the house to watch my dad and the marching band go by. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to join him. From eight I would be wearing beanies and leg warmers to keep out the cold, too young to join them for breakfast.
Dad fought in Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam. He left for Vietnam when I was 2. I don’t remember him leaving, but I remember him coming home. I was 3 and there was a big kerfuffle about getting to the airport to bring daddy home.
I wondered what a daddy was.
We went on a big tarmac and two soldiers came towards us, I tugged on my mothers hand ‘which one is my daddy?’ A big man scooped me into his arms and held me for the longest time.
He was awarded a bronze star from the US government for bravery. His friends stood at his funeral and talked about how he held back enemy fire all night to save their lives. An old soldier knelt at his grave and poured a bottle of rum into the earth. ‘This is for you Blacky,’ he said. ‘Thanks.’
‘It’s the nightmares’ he told me, opening a can of beer, ‘that make it the hardest. I saw things in Vietnam that I want to forget.’
He never did forget but he never told us either. Of all the wars and bullets my father dodged it was the surgeon’s knife that killed him.
We held a funeral befitting a soldier and much loved man.
I’ll always remember how he woke us with a whistle and a dance on Saturday mornings. How he claimed ice cream after 10pm had no calories. How he pondered the meaning of life.
The bugle played ‘The Last Post’ at his funeral, so on Anzac morning as I march in his honour with his medals on my heart, I think of my dad. I march for my dad. I march for peace. I march for all of the soldiers that were willing to make that sacrifice.
Rest in Peace Dad.
We love you.
GreetI am a yoga teacher, author and artist.
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