Lately at different times of my day I have been mulling over the fact that I have a fortunate life. The conflict in other parts of the world, the killing and wounding of innocent people including children makes me realise how fortunate I am. This trajectory took me to the autobiography written in 1981 by Albert Facey titled “A Fortunate Life”. It is an Australian Literature classic. It is primary source material for what took place at Gallipoli. The book was later made into a TV Mini Series.
Facey’s story is about his early life in Western Australia and his experiences in World War 1 as a private in the Gallipoli Campaign. His father died when he was 2 years old. Facey’s working life commenced when he was 8 years old. He had a life of hardship and loss yet his outlook on life was always positive. He joined the Australian Air Force in January 1915 and was badly injured at Gallipoli. Two of his brothers Joseph and Roy died in World War 1. His eldest son Barney died in World War 11. Next year on 25 April 2015 marks the 100th Year Anniversary of the Gallipoli landing. More than likely some of Facey’s ancestors will be represented at the Gallipoli Remembrance Service. My sister Christine who has had a military career and remains serving in the Naval Reserves will be there. Her husband John is also making the commemorative trip.
My knitting group in Maleny and others across Australia and New Zealand are knitting and crocheting poppies for Anzac Day 2015. The 5000 Poppies Project is a community tribute of “Respect and Remembrance”. As of 21 July 2014 the project had over 26,000 poppies. The poppies will form a visual display. A field of these poppies will be ‘planted’ in Federation Square, Melbourne. A similar event is also being held in New Zealand.
I am thankful that I was born in an advantaged country. Many of the freedoms I enjoy today were bought with the blood of those who died in World War 1. This is what Australia and New Zealand is commemorating in 2014 and in 2015, the 100th Anniversary of the First World War and the Gallipoli Campaign. This is not a glorification of war but a tribute and salute to those ANZACS who fought for the liberties and freedoms we enjoy today. I will be marking my respect by knitting a few poppies. It may not be much but when I see that field of poppies next year in Federation Square I will remember them. Lest we forget!