Monday, April 25, 2011

Andrei Names on a wall

It is or was Anzac day today, being as it is a half holiday I'm not sure whether it still is.

When I was little Anzac days were subject to disruptors. On the TV news, Anzac Day ceremonies would lead and the noisemakers would get a lot of focus. They didn't honor the dead and it disturbed me then, and it still does now.

Ironically some of these loud people later became establishment figures, Members of Parliament and even cabinet minsters. By then of course they wouldn't be disrupting Anzac Day services anymore but attend with serious faces wearing the obligatory poppy. Luckily for these characters the internet wayback machine doesn't go that far back so they are safe from embarrassing exposure, unlike the upcoming facebook generation who will never escape the sins of their mis-spent youth.

In any case Homepaddock has a post. "They also served" about ten nurses who died in 1915 when their ship was torpedoed. A post that remembers some of the dead.

And in it she lists names. Of course when I read it my eyes just skimmed over the names, at first anyway.

That part of the post, the actual names, is about as interesting as reading the phone book. I have no connection with any of these women who died nearly 100 years ago and it is quite unlikely that there is anybody else who does as well, after all this time. Perhaps someone might pick out a name and recognize it as a great-great-great aunt they heard of from their family, but most likely not.

This realization set me to wondering.

So I found out more, a little more about these women, not much. Most were South Islanders though, Ele highlighted one name from her area, a connection to her, of sorts. At least three were from Waimate. Close by but on the other side of the river, so not close enough for her to establish a personal connection.

Of course World War 2 is closer to us, for me it was a dark shadow that afflicted my childhood. People I knew had been scarred, both physically and mentally, by this one. People close to them had died, my blood. World War 2 was more immediate to me whereas World War 1 was ancient history, as of course World War 2 is for my children.

But it remains as the deadliest conflict in human history. Over sixty million dead!

And most of these people, heroes, villains or a combination of both aren't even names on a wall.

Just long forgotten people swept up in a man made catastrophe, not of their making which they failed to negotiate successfully and survive.

So today, I choose remember them all as best I can.

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