Australian Sacrifice Sustained A Little French Town
The main street, called Rue de Melbourne isn’t in Melbourne, my hometown. The Victoria School isn’t in the state of Victoria, where I live.
They’re both in a French town called Villers Bretonneux. There in the school, the students still sing the haunting lyrics of Waltzing Matilda, the old Australian national anthem.
Yes, little French children sing the Australian words "billabong", "coolibah tree", "jumbuck" and "swagman". Emblazoned prominently around their school are several signs that say: "Do not forget Australia."
The Australian flag flies over this town. It is a fitting gesture of respect, for the Australian flag once flew over this town after a terribly bloody battle.
The story goes back to the northern hemisphere spring of 1918. German troops captured Villers-Bretonneux on 23 April and two Australian brigades were ordered to retake the town before the Germans pushed towards Amiens.
The attack began late on the night of 24 April and by dawn the next day the Australians controlled the town. But almost 1200 Diggers had fallen during the battle.
Publishing this salute to history and sacrifice is especially significant today, for it is exactly 91 years to the day that the Australians liberated the town. And for about five hours after this auto-posts on my site, hundreds of people, young and old, will be gathering in reverence and in silence here in Melbourne, at the Shrine of Remembrance.
Today is Anzac Day and the traditional dawn service will honour all those who laid down their lives to ensure our freedom.
Visit TNChick's Photo Hunt. Today's theme: "Protection''.