A Hundred Years From Now

poppy

When the playing of the bugle sent a shiver down my spine
When I felt a sense of duty and stepped up to join the line
A song was sung, my heart was young, the ship it sailed away
When my mother stood there crying and I had no words to say
When I wore my country’s coat of arms to pledge a solemn vow
I didn’t think they’d honour me a hundred years from now

When I landed in an ambush on that distant foreign shore
When I saw the bullets flying and I heard the canon roar
I turned my head, my friend lay dead, it happened so damn fast
When I made it through the mayhem of that terrifying blast
When I managed to survive that day…still I don’t know how
I didn’t think they’d tell the tale a hundred years from now

When the battle raged forever and adversity was rife
When the courage and the sacrifice were daily facts of life
As darkness fell, it seemed like hell, but mateship got us through
When nothing else made any sense… that’s the flag we flew
When thoughts of home revived my strength and wiped my bloody brow
I didn’t think they’d call me ‘brave’ a hundred years from now

When I felt a chill that morning – when my heart beat like a drum
When the captain gave his orders and I knew the time had come
No glory there, just pure despair, my best is what I gave
When they wrote ‘lest we forget’ upon the headstone of my grave
When, beside my cross, the children of the future stop to bow
My spirit will remain alive a hundred years from now

When the playing of the bugle sends a shiver down your spine
When you realise that your qualities are just the same as mine
From dreamtime land to coastal sand, the city to the sprawl
When the essence of my legacy unites Australians all
When Anzac legend shines a light on all who make that vow
With pride, the world will know their name a hundred years from now

Rupert McCall, OAM

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17 thoughts on “A Hundred Years From Now

  1. I did the World War 1 tour of parliament house. Very interesting to learn about some of the political characters and their family in World War 1.

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  2. Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours … You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.

    Atatürk

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      • Especially considering their own losses. Real people, not just statistics.

        The casualty figures give a good understanding of who suffered:

        Australia: 18.500 wounded and missing – 7,594 killed.
        New Zealand : 5,150 wounded and missing – 2,431 killed.
        British Empire (excl. Anzac) : 198,000 wounded and missing – 22,000 killed.
        France : 23,000 wounded and missing – 27,000 killed.

        Ottoman Empire (Turkey) : 109,042 wounded and missing – 57,084 killed.

        Furthermore 1.700 Indians died in Gallipoli, plus an unknown number of Germans, Newfoundlanders and Senegalese.

        Why did Turkey have such losses? Perhaps the hearts of their soldiers weren’t in it. Conscripts don’t always agree with actions of their government. The total number of people killed as a result of the Armenian genocide, happening at the same time, has been estimated at between 800,000 to 1.5 million. There was wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre, and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian desert

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    • amazing indeed that the soldier turned politician managed to wall paper over his involvement with the slaughter of the Armenias and annexation of their land.
      How easily a few platitudes can beguile the gullible [those perpetual adolescent children of Western Socialism]

      Lest We Forget [the Truth, the True God] from Kipling’s prophetic poem. His words came to pass.

      the blood of A Million Armenians cries out from the ground

      yadda, yadda cymbals? No, just quoting Kipling, like thousands of unwitting Anzac Day narrators. But accurately this time.

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      • ‘‘LEST we forget’’ is, in Australia, synonymous with Anzac Day. By itself, or left embedded in its original place in Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem, The Recessional, it conjures chilly dawn services, bugle calls and old men with the hint of tears in their far-gazing eyes.

        And yet, for all that the expression is repeated, few probably really grapple with its layered meanings.

        To Kipling, who wrote the poem for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 – at the peak of the British Empire’s power – it was about the need for citizens of great nations and empires to remember that enduring dominion can only be derived from moral strength. In Kipling’s eyes, that meant having faith in God, realising all power came ultimately from that source alone and being consequently humble.

        Kipling told how the phrase ‘‘lest we forget’’ forced itself into his imagination while he was working in his study, and he built his poem around it.

        To many of the original men of Anzac who adopted the phrase and the poem for use in their services of commemoration, most of the meaning might have been more literal, standing alongside the Ode of Remembrance, itself a stanza from the 1914 poem For the Fallen, by Laurence Binyon.

        The lines: ‘‘They shall not grow 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 shall remember them,’’ resonated powerfully with men who had fought in World War I. It is scarcely possible for anybody who has not experienced anything like the industrial-scale slaughter of the world wars to begin to comprehend the deep meaning that those words took on. In short, they amounted to a simple but solemn vow that the memory of old comrades in arms would never be forgotten.

        To many younger Australians, whose imaginations could not encompass the deep feelings of the ex-servicemen, ‘‘lest we forget’’ has perhaps usually meant that those for whom earlier generations fought and died should not forget the debt they owe to those forebears.

        The phrase can easily mean both things: that old comrades should not be forgotten, and that the wartime blood sacrifices of past generations should be honoured and respected by those who live in the present.

        And underneath those meanings still lies Kipling’s inspiration. Consider his poem’s thinly veiled warning to those who lean on military force alone:

        ‘‘For heathen heart that puts her trust in reeking tube and iron shard, all valiant dust that builds on dust, and guarding, calls not Thee to guard; for frantic boast and foolish word, Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!’’

        The Great War, a century past, should always be remembered as a warning.

        Lest we forget.
        http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3035349/editorial-anzac-day-lest-we-forget/

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      • That’s a good synopsis.
        The refrain means what people take for granted isn’t.
        Unless the Lord builds the house they labour in vain.
        The prescience in Kipling’s poem is stunning. It was written at the crowning glory of Empire and warns of the hubris over the Victorian/Edwardian achievements.

        As Australians sink to this
        Dr Abu Yusuf
        http://rt.com/news/253089-australian-doctor-isis-video/

        How good is Abu at putting heads back on decapitated infidel bodies?

        The sound bite response it this:
        Jesus is Australia’s history.
        Failure to remember Him such means no less to us than the end of Kipling’s Britannia did to him.

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  3. Hi Bryan,

    Well I’ve got a technical question, and it is one that I put forward seriously here. It is not a matter of historical fact or verifiable by scientific method. The other day, you were repeatedly challenging one of our number to state that he has unconditional love for another one of our group. There was at that time, no equitable resolution of the matter. I am specifically asking the question of you, and I hope that for the time being none of the others here will pop up with answers.

    Now, I’ve just spent some time doing a site search on the internet concerning the topic of Unconditional Love. As I fully anticipated, none of the discussions I turned up suggested for a moment that in any way does the Christian God ultimately love us unconditionally. The Christian Heaven and Salvation, however lovingly offered, are not offered without definite conditions.

    However from what I’ve gathered previously and from what you said here, it would appear that rank and file Christians on the other hand, are seriously enjoined to love all others in an unconditional fashion. Now, it is rather fascinating to me that The Christian God commands his followers to love unconditionally (although the word is never used anywhere in Scripture); and yet, this same Deity who is understood and declared to be perfect in every way, does not abide by the same rule of perfection that his faithful seem to be held to.

    And to me as a rank outsider, this requirement gives the impression of the old rule of any dictator or tyrant, who commands all to ‘do as I say, not as I do.’ Now clearly, the immediate anticipated answer is that The God is the one who created all things and has every ‘right’ to dictate terms as ‘He’ sees fit; so please recognize that I understand that approach.

    So a couple of questions. Firstly, just how do you actually define that ‘Unconditional Love’ which you were enjoining upon our mate PG? Briefly as you like, what are its limits, its demands and its perameters for human beings? And secondly, is this Unconditional Love an exclusive possibility for ‘saved’ Christians only; or can non-Christians have and execute it properly as well and as effectively as the ‘faithful’?

    You see, I have a very serious and considered viewpoint of my own on the matter that I wrote in an essay some years back, and I am most interested to learn whether my own considered and standard approach to Unconditional Love matches yours.

    Over to you. Cheers, Rian.

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  4. Are we honouring all the sacrifices made by our young men in all our wars? The words “Thanks to their sacrifice, we are free,” are not true of WWI, where there was no threat. It was all about national one-up-man-ship, not the arch-duke’s assassination.

    We are getting more and more to making a cult of the Anzacs, and forgetting the other young men who went to our other wars, some of which were futile anyway. Poor blokes didn’t come home from Korea, Vietnam, or any other US led involvement, to honour and glory. What has happened to Remembrance Day, why are we so wrapped up in Anzac Day? My father was an Anzac, and was apalled at the thought this could happen.

    What about WWII, which [i]was [/i]fighting a genuine threat, in Naziism? The many, many victims of that war in Europe. What about the men who contracted malaria in New Guinea, the POWs starving in Japanese camps, the men who were shot when surrendering, because the Japanese had no food to keep them alive?

    Let’s honour all the war dead and those who lived on to suffer, regardless of whether they were conned into serving or not. They thought they were doing the right thing.

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