I headed into the hills today, wearing my poppy which flapped wildly in the lively westerly.
I thought of my Granddad, what he saw and did, came home and lived with in silence the rest of his life. Dad once told me at Anzac parade his mother pointed to a sign with Passchendaele and told him and his sister Daddy served there. Dad looked up at his father and said his face was completely expressionless. He'd chosen not to march and I wonder what he was thinking.
I also thought of the school teacher Mum had a Cornwall Park Primary who was a Conscientious Objector. He was jailed and treated poorly, and I wish I could remember more of what she told me about him, as he left a great impression on Mum. I was around 8 years old and she introduced me to him at a school celebration.
As I roamed the hills above Lake Lyndon, examined deer prints, felt the promise of winter in the wind, and felt the warmth of the sun, I gave thanks that my generation of New Zealanders has not known the trauma of war. Thank God my Dad, brother and nephews have not left our shores to go to war.
As we began our descent, I also thought how wonderful it would be if we could share more of our abundant lifestyle in New Zealand with refugees, driven from their homes and countries by war. Not just government quotas but churches and communities prepared to welcome, help, and stand by families for the long haul.
ANZAC day has evolved and I hope we can too.