In Memory of the Brave and Honourable Who Served

11 November, 2021

'War_Memorial_2'_-_RAHS-Osborne_Collection_c._1930s_(15157276943)It is fitting the weather here is grey and sullen as an another Armistice Day (in modern parlance Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth and Veterans Day in the US) is upon us.  As Armistice Day it originally served as a remember of the end of the Great War, the Armistice that ended the war starting at 11:11am on 11 November, 1918, and those who served and died there.  Since then, it has been expanded to include the many others who have served and died for their country in honorable service through the years.

If you remember, pause for a minute of silence to honor the brave soldiers and other members of the armed forces that have guarded us -and still do- at 11:11am.

While it has been my wont in recent years to find poems from lesser known war poets, for this year, an Australian:

“When You’ve Been Here as Long as Me”

By Oscar Walters

I got upon his nerves, I guess—

And I know now that they were raw—

But he’d annoy me, I confess,

When he was laying down the law.

I used to say to him: “A man

Would think you owned Gallipoli.”

And every sentence he began:

“When you’ve been here as long as me.”

How foolish does It all seem now,

How far removed from commonsense;

But then each empty, childish row

Seemed fraught with direst consequence.

We used to argue every day.

I knew the way to hurt, and he

Knew that he only had to say:

“When you’ve been here as long as me.”

In fancy I can see him now,

And hear him say with spiteful mirth:

“I never waited, anyhow,

Until they pushed me out of Perth.

Oh! you’re a clever sort of chap;

But take my tip, son, it will be

Quite time enough for you to yap

When you’ve been here as long as me.”

The scars that marked the headlands old

The gentle hand of time has healed.

To him the story has been told,

To him the purpose is revealed.

And, as I puzzle o’er the plan,

From where he sleeps beside the sea

A whisper comes: “You’ll know, old man,

When you’ve been here as long as me.”

Notes: Photo of the ANZAC War Memorial in Sydney, found on Wikimedia Commons and has no known copyright restrictions.

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