ANZAC Day will be celebrated a little differently this year. Instead of joining the crowds lining the streets, I, like many others, will be standing at the end of my driveway at 6.00am to remember those who served and continue to serve, and to show my gratitude.
ANZAC Day has always been special to me and my family – my great-grandfather, William Berger, fought and was wounded in France and Belgium; my 2nd great-uncle, John Campbell, was killed in action in Belgium in 1917; and my husband’s grandfather, Frederick Russell, fought at Gallipoli – an original ANZAC. Paul and I discovered that my great-grandfather and his grandfather were both in the 22nd Battalion – but his grandfather was only 19, and my great-grandfather was a married man of 40 with eight children!
Last year, before the coronavirus shut the world down, we were privileged and honoured to visit the battlefields and memorials in Belgium and France. Paul’s grandfather’s uniform is displayed in the museum at Villers-Bretonneux, and we were also able to visit the gravesite of John Campbell, whose remains rest at the Hooge Crater Cemetery at Ypres, Belgium.
The cemeteries and memorials are truly beautiful, and the lines of white headstones are a stark reminder of all those who were lost. It was a deeply emotional experience for all of us.