By Ruth Limkin
I marched once, on ANZAC day. I am not a returned soldier, but I am the granddaughter of one.
Several years ago, when my grandfather lived in the same town as us, we marched together. My cousins, my sister, and my grandfather. We marched because he asked us to.
We felt out of place if truth be told. Those who’d risked their very life, defending loved ones and resisting aggression, were truly deserving of the applause they received from those who lined the parade route. Yet my cousins, my sister and I were merely recipients of the freedom won for us by brave men and women – we had done nothing to earn the applause. While we knew the cheers were not for us, we still felt unworthy as we marched alongside veterans.
We marched because he asked us to, and we loved him.
Our kind and generous grandfather, who spent his 18th birthday under fire. Our hardworking, dutiful grandfather, whose best mate died beside him. Our peace loving grandfather, who answered the call to help stop the Japanese forces from their ominous advance.
We marched because he asked us to, and we were proud of him.
He survived the war, returned home, met my grandmother and remained devotedly married to her for decades until she passed away several years ago. One of his children returned to Japan as a missionary in the years that followed, and there I was born. It seemed a fitting chapter to follow, that from a good man, a message of love was carried back to former enemies.
My grandfather doesn’t march anymore, watching them instead on television.
I’m glad we marched when he asked us to.
Because opportunities to express gratitude don’t last forever, and we should take them when we can.
Lest we forget.