Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I write this on ANZAC Day, our national day commemorating all those lives lost in the wars since the disastrous Gallipoli campaign of 1915. And I write it to the sound of guns firing in adjacent fields which adds to the poignancy of the day.  The Great War was supposed to be the war that ended all wars but it seems that mankind is incapable of learning from the past and keeps repeating the same mistakes even if for different reasons. So we take time out to think of those who died, some knowing why they died and others not. Some fearless, some not -and some overcoming their fear.  For those especially we thank them.

The Great War was a big adventure for the likes of New Zealanders and Australians given the opportunity to go to the other side of the world when they would have had little opportunity otherwise. Like all young men, the 18-20 year-olds (and younger), they all thought themselves bullet-proof.  Nothing has changed, has it?

However this time the sounds of battle belong to the vineyard owners on the one side and the marauding flocks of starlings on the other. Another battle that repeats itself every year. Another battle that will never be won.

There are some who think the efforts to restore or build replica 'warbirds' are meant to glorify war.  They could not be further from the truth. They are to celebrate the ingenuity of Man and, particularly in the case of WW1 replicas, to commemorate those who took to the skies in what we think today as frail machines. But at the time these were 'state of the art' and the men were young and did as all young men do -accepted the challenge without a second thought.  At least for the first time.

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