On Tuesday this week, 25 April, we recognised ANZAC Day—one of Australia’s most revered national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during World War 1.
ANZAC Day is a day of remembrance, a day of mourning and a day to acknowledge the many thousands of ordinary Australian men and women who have gone to war and faced many perils so that, as a nation, we can remain free. We came together to remember those who have served, those who have fallen and those who are currently serving. Since the First World War, 102,825 Australians have been killed in military conflicts. This includes 61,531 in WW1, 39,652 in WW2, 340 in the Korean War, 521 in the Vietnam War, 4 in East Timor, 42 in Afghanistan and 2 killed in Iraq, including Private Jake Kovco, father of Tyrie in Year 9.
To express the sorrow of a nation, Laurence Binyon penned his now famous poem:
For the Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Laurence Binyon (1869–1943)
At assembly at Garnsey Campus on Monday, St Anne’s Fellowship last Friday and Bairnsdale Fellowship today, our School commemorated ANZAC Day in a dignified and respectful manner. This included the Last Post, a minute’s silence and the Rouse.
In military tradition, the Last Post is the bugle call that signifies the end of the day's activities. It is also sounded at military funerals to indicate that the soldier has gone to his final rest, as well as at commemorative services such as ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day. We remember those that have fallen during a minute’s silence; flags are usually lowered to half-mast to make way for death’s invisible flag.
After one minute of silence, the Rouse is sounded and flags are raised from half-mast to the masthead. Rouse and Reveille are used in the military to galvanise the soldiers for the day, or to wake them from their sleep. Today, they are strongly associated with the Last Post at all military funerals, and at services of dedication and remembrance.
On a happy note, I would like to thank the School community for the many well wishes received after Noah Cantwell’s accident on Monday afternoon. I am delighted to report that Noah is recovering well and looking forward to returning to School.
I send my best wishes to those students participating in tonight’s Year 11 Ball. I know that the students and their parents have been practising hard to ensure that everyone remembers their dance steps and the night is a great success.
The East Gippsland Field Days are on again this Friday and Saturday. Staff and students will be in attendance at the Gippsland Grammar stand. The Field Days represent a great day out for all, and provide a valuable opportunity for the School to interact with the broader community, as well as those families who are in the process of selecting an educational pathway for their children. We look forward to meeting them and many others over the next couple of days.