ANZAC day at Bomana War Cemetery

I was going to post last week on ANZAC day, but a crook guts on the day turned into a really bad gastro experience. With me still not over the effects of two months of malaria, needless to say – I was pretty stuffed… Poor Xanthe has had it rough as well, she is still off school – and hopefully will be OK for the family weekend trip to Cairns this weekend (I am not going – weekend of work…).

Back to ANZAC day… It was very weird being at really an Aussie Anzac day here in PNG, for me – I just didn’t find it as emotional as I normally am back in NZ. Anzac day in NZ is very different and feels more kiwi than Waitangi day. As ex-navy, I did parades on both days, and anzac day was always my favorite. It was surreal though at Bomana, which is the largest Aussie military cemetery outside Australia – and especially being there with our Aussie mates Peter and Lesley, and Adam and Jenny, and watching poor Ian in all his navy number 1s as part of the ceremony – it must have been bloody hot in that rig…

The morning started with a convoy of cars leaving Konedobu at 4am. Port Moresby was already awake, and as we got close to Bomana the crowds were getting bigger, so of course I wind down the window and said good morning to everyone. Yeah – there possibly wasn’t many strange kiwis with their windows down saying good morning, but I really appreciated the fact that PNG was being moved by Anzac day as well, and all these people were there paying their respects. The Kokoda campaign was 70 years ago so that made this very special for PNG.

It’s amazing really, if it weren’t for a bunch of Aussies, the fuzzy wuzzy angels, and the Kokoda trail, Australia might be Japanese now. New Zealand would have been next…. So, as Anzac’s we really owe PNG a lot – a lot more than we give…

One of the special things about anzac day for me, is not only reflecting and being proud of my grandfathers, but also all my old navy mates. I may not have much contact with them over the years – but there is always a beer and a bed at my place, and Anzac day makes me feel very proud that I served, and very proud of those I served with. Just a pity I cut my career short – but that’s another story…

Thanks for reading
Aaron

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