Alarm goes off at 4am. Time to get the family ready to pick up Poppy (grandfather) from the Rest Home. We finally get ready and out the door with raincoats and umbrellas , we were expecting rain today. Get to poppy's on time but he's still finishing off his breakfast of bran. We wheel him out the door and into the car. The nurse kindly helps us get Poppy into the car quickly. We arrive down at the parade and can't get close enough so I talked the guy into letting us into the closed part of the road. That's a way better place to offload Poppy and the wheel chair. Oma's already waiting for us and helps us get all the kids ready while I sort out Poppy into the wheel chair. Opa Preesman is also marching in the parade with the Brass band.
Jesse comes with Poppy and I as we rush to the front of the Parade and take our place with the WW2 veterans. We made it just in time!!!!! Then an eery silence falls over the whole parade as everyone anticipates what's about to happen then a solitary voice calls us to start marching. It's a very emotional experience marching with such men around me that fought in a war so long ago in the dark with rain threatening at any chance. After our parade from Rust Ave to Laura Hall car park we have the awesome sight of hundreds of crosses before us only just luminated (what an experience) by the park lighting. We listen to a minister who speaks very well and quoting from Philippians 3:12-16 , we sing NZ & Aussie National anthems and listen to highschool students reading out more names of fallen soldiers. My favourite bit was the solitary cornet player playing 'the last post' from the walk bridge, it was such an amazing atmosphere.
Then Jesse breaks the silent atmosphere and asks is that Opa playing on the bridge? Towards the end the rain started to occasionally fall and I felt the ceremony speed up as if everyone was trying to beat the rain. With the ceremony finished and wreaths laid we made our way back in the parade back to the RSA. I was so proud to be able to share this experience with my son Jesse as we are so proud of Poppy and his involvement in Italy WW2.
We got Poppy back to the Rest Home of which I caught a glimpse of his smile from ear to ear. That's all I needed to know - how Poppy loved the Anzac Day experience.
After we dropped Poppy off we meet up with Oma and Opa at McDonalds for a special breakfast.
All our ANZAC 2011 PHOTOS