Gunfire brekkie after moving ceremony

p2232-Ives-Anzac-2By DAVE IVES

 

I spent early Saturday morning on top of ANZAC Hill. But I wasn’t alone – far from it. Seemed like hundreds of locals and visitors made the pre-dawn trek to witness the ANZAC Day 100 year commemoration.

 

I left the house at 5am figuring I had plenty of time to park my car and climb up ANZAC Hill and locate a good place to witness the ceremony prior to the 6am start. But when I reached the top at about 5:20am I was greeted by throngs of people nudging their way to the best viewing positions.

 

I somehow managed to scooch forward arriving in the second row behind the podium; pretty good spot for someone who arrived a bit “late”.

 

I couldn’t get over the number of people in attendance. The whole top of ANZAC Hill was jammed with spectators. And, there was a viewing screen at the bottom of the hill which suggests there were lots more people below watching remotely.

 

The ceremony was spectacular. The military team marched with precision taking up their positions around the center monument.

 

An Air Force officer gave an inspiring speech personalizing the ANZAC experience, sharing stories about individual soldiers who experienced the fateful campaign back in 1915.

 

An alternating prayer spoken by an Australian priest and a New Zealand priest caused me to reflect as I pondered the fate of the ANZACs rowing onto the shores of Gallipoli 100 years ago.

 

And the choir group – We are One – lifted my spirit as they sang the Australian and NZ national anthems.

 

Following the ceremony folks mingled then started wandering down the hill; many making their way to the RSL to enjoy the “Gunfire Brekkie.”

 

Apparently, the Gunfire part of the breakfast is when the lady at the end of the coffee line dumps a shot of rum in your cuppa.

 

I asked her: “What kind of milk is that?” Some larrikin yelled out: “Mother’s milk!”

 

A star attraction at the RSL was the Digger (pictured) in full dress talking about all things ANZAC.

 

p2232-Ives-Anzac-1He shared stories about the tucker the troops ate; the uniforms; the living conditions; the battle conditions.

 

His authentic uniform made his stories come to life.  I could almost imagine myself transported back in time, back to 1915.

 

(This was first published in the author’s blog.)

 

 

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