Lest we forget

Dear Great Grandpa James,

Today marks 100 years since the first ANZAC commemorative services began.  It’s amazing to think how time passes by so quickly, crystalizes, and becomes an enduring memory.

These memories have passed down to me for as long as I can remember.  As a school child I remember drawing poppies using the brightest of red crayons.  I recited poems containing words that sounded so old-fashioned and foreign.  I learnt that war inflicted hurt and death.  How could people be so mean to each other?

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Private James Stowers, Reg No 16/1383

I also heard so many stories about you.  You passed away a few weeks before I was born but I was often told how proud, funny and hard-case you were.  Throughout the years I have visited you at the Mangere Lawn Cemetery, with nana leading the way with her cloth and bottle of water to clean your headstone.  She didn’t really say much, but I can always remember her smiling at your picture.

As I get older I constantly reflect on my life and take time to count my blessings.  I then think about how you, in your early twenties, headed out to war with your brothers.  From Samoa to the Great War… how exciting, frightening and difficult that must have been.  It gives me goosebumps to even imagine what war felt, smelled and sounded like.

Thankfully you returned to your family after the war and received passage to New Zealand.  If it wasn’t for you, then perhaps I wouldn’t be here today, living a life filled with opportunity and potential.  I am immensely proud of the ANZACs and all those who served during the war effort – to know you all fought for our freedoms makes me feel blessed.

To express my gratitude to you Great Grandpa, I will ensure I commemorate the ANZACs each year and share these experiences and memories with others.  You will all not be forgotten.

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 will remember them.
We will remember them.

With love from your Great Grandson,

Andrew

 

Photo from: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

 

One Comment Add yours

  1. Liza says:

    Another brilliant article Anj. I love reading your pieces. Ox

    Liked by 1 person

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