These few words are amongst the most sacred ever uttered in Australia and today they were spoken many times in many places as Australians in cities and towns across the country gathered at dawn services for the commemoration of ANZAC Day.
Although I was extremely tired after working all night, I am very glad that I did bite the bullet and wake up Sport Boy and VTES early this morning and take them to the dawn service. Poor V didn't know what on earth was going on and thought she was in trouble when I woke her up but she finally grasped what I was saying and staggered out of bed and into the dark.
I haven't been to a dawn service in Busselton before and wasn't sure what to expect but was very impressed to find a huge crowd of people gathered silently in the dark around the war memorial when we arrived. I told V it was a solemn occasion and she responded appropriately even though she really didn't know what it was all about.
The bugler played a faultless rendition of the Last Post.
The words of the ode pierced the darkness.
The crowd respectfully repeated the final lines.
It was sad yet beautiful, haunting yet magical.
A thousand strangers in the pre-dawn dark joined in spirit and purpose to pay their respects to the fallen of Gallipoli and Flanders and the Western Front, and in tribute to the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the Australian and New Zealand Armed Forces.
Lest we Forget.