Today, 25th April, is a designated Public Holiday in Australia. Some major retail chains, supermarkets etc open at 1pm, after the morning Anzac Day March, but for most its a day off from the rest of the working week (unless its a Saturday or Sunday, which was not the case this year.
I did 21 years service in the Royal Australian Navy (1968-89)and for a number of years have made it a point to march, if possible, in honour of those servicemen and servicewomen who were kiled on active duty in the service of this nation of ours. I march with the Naval Association of Australia, or occasionally the NSW Police contingent, but today I was with the Naval Assocation. We form up (fall in) at about 0850 and march off at 0900, and the route takes about 30 minutes and then we're dismissed. I stayed around town to watch the remainder of the march and the whole thing took just on four hours, so the legs were a little stiff by the time it finished.
This morning we had 4 seasons in one. The day started out grey and overcast with ominous, heavy cloud, we started ok, there were a few spots of rain, it cleared, then it pelted down fairly heavily. No one was perterbed and we all just shrugged it off and kept going. The rain eased, the sun came out and it was a beautiful, if somewhat cooler day for the rest of the time.
It starts off with the official party, which this year was led by the Lieutenant Governor of NSW, Jim Spiegelman (who I think is the Chief Justice of NSW). There was a riderless horse, to represent the World War 1 veterans as sadly but not unexpectedly, there are none left alive from that conference. The horse was followed by a number of taxis (cabs) carrying WW2 or later veterans who were incapacitated or had mobility issues which meant they were unable to march, ride motorised wheelchairs or be pushed. Then there was the Navy, Army, Air Force, Police, Firebrigade, Ambulance Services, overseas country representatives from places such as Serbia, Malta, USA, Great Britain, Rhodesia, France, Netherlands, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and a few others, and finally a group of descendants of WW1 Veterans marched in memory of their ancestors. The final contingent was a group of Parade marshalls who held the whole thing together and made it run like a well oiled machine.
I didn't stay around for reunions, parties or two-up but came home pretty well straight after the march.
All in all a good day.
The link is from a web page I haven't touched since 2004. I apologise for the embedded midi file. its a bit noisy, but I think reflects perfectly what i was trying to say on the page. .