Friday, April 25, 2008

Another Anzac Day Dawns

We Pine For Private Simpson

The pine tree at the Shrine. Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Under the clear blue Melbourne sky, there is a famous monument to one of the bravest men ever to wear an Australian military uniform. His name is Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick and he is enshrined in folklore as "the man with the donkey".

Today is ANZAC Day, a national day of commemoration in Australia and New Zealand to honour those who fought at Gallipoli in 1915, during World War I. The word Anzac is an acronym derived from Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and the solemn day here in Melbourne begins with a dawn service at the Shrine of Remembrance.

Not far from where the bugler sounds the Last Post and the Eternal Flame burns with an audible hiss in the reverent silence, old men with medals on their chests and a quiver on their lips stand to attention and the young children gather to honour the memory of those lost in battle, there is a tree. A pine tree. A historic pine tree. It is grown from the seeds of a pine tree that stood not far from where young men died in that battle.

Under the shade of that tree there is a statue. It shows a man in uniform leading a donkey by a tether. On the donkey is a wounded man. He slumps towards the muleteer, who supports him with his right arm. The man with the donkey is Private Simpson.

He was born in 1892 in England and as a young boy he worked with donkeys at a fair. Later, he joined the merchant navy but jumped ship in Australia in 1914. He then enlisted in the Australian army. Eight months later, as a stretcher bearer with the Australian Imperial Force, he was in the midst of the carnage at Gallipoli.

From the 25th of April onwards, Private Simpson risked his life several times a day to carry wounded soldiers to safety - on the backs of donkeys. On the 19th of May, while traversing Shrapnel Gully with yet another wounded soldier, he was killed by machine gun fire. He was 22 years old.

This morning, as the sun rises over the Shrine, they will utter the words: "They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the evening, we will remember them."

That is our greatest tribute to the Anzacs. We will remember them.

For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch Friday.

ME AND POPPY McGEE: I have a huge appreciation for the way Google incorporates special graphics into the corporate logo on its home page to commemorate special occasions. And yes, I understand that these representations (for instance, the famous Google rendering of Lego) are not commissioned on the basis of "donations" or corporate payments in any way. But if you click on Google today, you'll notice an interesting error. The logo incorporates a poppy, not an Anzac symbol. Yes, the poppy is a generic symbol of wartime homage, but it is specifically connected to 11 November, which is Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. We wear poppies in our lapels on November. Today, Anzac Day, we wear badges to honour the Diggers. There's still time for Google to correct this ....

73 comments:

Old Wom Tigley said...

Hi David
Thank you for this post today.. I am sure it will get the respect it deserves and anyone who reads it remembers what as been done by folk that have gone before us

Tom

Mima said...

I just cried reading this - it hit really close to home, my Grampa was in the 2nd WW, and thank god came home after three years in a POW camp, but with awful shrapnel wounds. He is fighting cancer at the moment, and we are waiting for the results of a scan, but he is not well. I have clear images of him standing and listening to those words to commemorate those who were not as lucky as him - they all deserve our thoughts.

Seamus said...

Well done David on this solemn day!

Luiz Ramos said...

Great. History and taken.
Congratulations.

Sandi McBride said...

War Heroes everywhere should expect to be remembered with awe and reverence. I salute the Anzac Heroes, remembering that it isn't only Americans who have lost their lives in the pursuit of freedom. I expect the heroes neither sought nor expected the rememberence of their names so many years after they gave all. Or as the song goes, all gave some, some gave all.
Sandi

Maggie May said...

That was a very good tribute. I have often wondered what Anzac day was about.

said...

Gourgeous photo and such an interesting story.

Angie said...

A very moving post.The bravery of these men should never be forgotten.

***Fotografia e Luz*** said...

beautiful and magnificent photos sky

Denise BC said...

Homage wonderful, with images valuable.

Dulce said...

Beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing this part of History that I didn't know.

Voz do meu Coração said...

beautiful pictures, with a beautiful sky

imac said...

Great sky and great story makes a wonderful post .
Nice one David.

come and see my Goat Man.

kostas said...

Marvellous history! Splendid post!

Granny Smith said...

My father was born in 1892, the same year as Private Simpson. They would be 116 years old now. I think the bravest men are those who risk their lives for others, something my father did many times, although he did not pay the price that Private Simpson did.

Did the donkey survive?

Champ Townboy said...

Beautiful post!

Abraham Lincoln said...

I remember the Anzacs and others from the war years. Your post is really nice.

John said...

Great shots and such an interesting story. Thanks for sharing the History. As usual well done David!

Craver Vii said...

I like the pictures and story. The quote about not growing old is haunting, and sorrowful.

Carletta said...

Stunning photo!
I enjoyed the commentary as well.

Carletta said...

Stunning photo!
I enjoyed the commentary as well.

Daniel J Santos said...

Great information and great photos, the first it's very beautiful with that light, excellent post.

SandyCarlson said...

This touched my heart, David. These statues seem to breathe! They breathe life into history. And that sky shot--perfect.

Petunia said...

Always so great to read your words and see your photos.
Have a nice weekend!
Petunia's SWF

Marie said...

Interesting story and beautiful photos!

Snap Catch said...

cool one! Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. mine's up too, hope you'll visit mine.

Hammer said...

Thanks for that bit of history.

Very interesting indeed.

lime said...

a marvelous post. i knew about ANZAC day and the shrine but not about pvt. simpson and his ultimate sacrifice. thank you for sharing and may today be remembered with all the solemnity and dignity such a day deserves.

Rachelle said...

Sweet story! What a great statue too.
Hay David, come look at my photos I took without a macro of poppies.
Tell me what you think, I am trying my best with the lens I have!
Slainte~
Rachelle

scrap chair potato said...

Beautiful.

Charm said...

very interesting story.

your sky shot is great too!

David said...

Thanks for your great post today. You've really summed it up well. All Australians need to hear this, we tend to forget the actual stories behind ANZAC day, so it is good to be reminded here.

Cheers,

David Webb: Nature Pictures

p.s. If you have time, you might want to check out my SWF post - it's the first storm we've had in ages due to the drought.

fishing guy said...

David: Great post and super picture. You really do capture the spirit of your posts.

Momma said...

That's a great story, David. It's nice to hear about real heroes.

He died on my birthday. So did Anne Boleyn. It gives me shivers!

Peace - D

dot said...

Thanks for another beautiful and interesting post!

andrée said...

David, I think this is the loveliest post. It brought a tear to my eye. Gallipoli was another tragedy that we haven't seemed to learn from. We continue to send boys far away to die. I hope Kirkpatrick and all the others are never forgotten. Your first photo is a beautiful memorial to them.

nina said...

Enjoy the silhouetted pine boughs--striking.

Sharon said...

The pictures are wonderful as if this rememberance of a brave young man. Thank you for this information.

Travis said...

All honor and respect, with humble thanks, to those who served.

napaboaniya said...

I've learned something historic today. Having lived in NSW for years when I was younger. I didn't even learn about ANZAC Day.
Thanks for sharing this today.

quilly said...

Very well written, David. I wish stories like this actually had an effect on stopping war.

Les Becker said...

This was such a touching tribute, David. Your photo at the top, especially, brought tears to my eyes. Gorgeous.

Sherry said...

What a great tribute, and the photos are beautiful.

quintarantino said...

Good post.

TK Kerouac said...

I love your photography!!!

Cowgirl said...

Beautiful words, David, and the statue, so poignant and captured so well as always. Lump in throat reading it. I have heard of Private Simpson and how he died. So many brave young men snatched away.

Interestingly, I didn't know you wore badges in Australia on Anzac Day and not poppies. Poppies are sold here (for as long as I can remember) by members of the RSA and wives, relatives etc of the men who didn't come home. They sell them all over town outside shops and so forth and we wear them over our hearts all this week.

And people think us Kiwi's and the Aussies are "all the same"!!!

Blog Princess G said...

I am so grateful for those who went before me so I could live in the freedom I have. And so awestruck by their bravery.

Great post David.

Pretty Life Online said...

fantastic catch for SWF! mine’s up too, hope you can visit. Have a wonderful weekend!

Picturing of Life said...

Nice blue sky....

Will you visit mine Thanks

juliana rw said...

You always have wonderful shots :P

Please check out mine Thanks

Scotty Graham said...

Thanks for this, David...a good read.

Cheers,
Scotty

sunshineforlife said...

Hi David, Happy Friday!

Thanks for sharing history.

Sharon said...

Just beautiful pics, and very touching history.

Shrinky said...

I was unaware of Galipoli until I saw the film of the same name, which made a huge impact on me. A very moving story David, thank you for relating it.

Blue said...

A beautiful photograph followed by a fascinating touching post.

Akelamalu said...

A very informative and touching post David. All those who fought for freedom should be remembered like this.

RuneE said...

A highly unusual and highly worthy post.

I have also learnt quite a lot, and learning is never wasted

Stacey Huston said...

Beautiful and honorable skywatch post. thanks for sharing

Small City Scenes said...

We salute them all. MB

Kim said...

Thank you for the information about ANZAC Day. I had no idea what it was until today, so thank you.

Am'n2Deep said...

Well hi, David! I'm only a mere 55 posts behind. :)

Thank you for sharing this history. What an amazingly courageous young man.

And the photo of the tree was beautiful.

babooshka said...

Everyhing about this post is brilliant. Stunning image and for highlighting Anzac Day.

mrsnesbitt said...

A moving post David. I surely hope it has an imact on people. It certainly did on me.

Dx

nitebyrd said...

Thank you, David for a bit of history we in the US may not have been aware of. A lovely tribute with beautiful pictures.

Shoshana said...

This is a beautiful monument...thank you for sharing ithis with us.

Shoshana

Rambling Round said...

Wonderful post! I love the pine tree photo as well.

nonizamboni said...

Thank you for sharing such a poignant story and interesting photos. I had no idea. . .and now I have an even better idea of what bravery really means.

San said...

Beautiful weaving of word and image, David. A moving tribute.

Só- Poesias e outros itens said...

Great!!!
I love it.
History and taken.

JU Gioli

raf said...

Beautiful, informative and moving post today. Thank you!

Autumn said...

Lovely photos and a wonderful story to go with them.
Very nice post

Hilary said...

That was beautiful. I'm in catch up mode and missed the Google image but sure am glad that this gem was here.

ed said...
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