Saturday, April 27, 2013

Steps to Yesteryear - Anzac Day

This week Australians and New Zealanders commemorated those who served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. 

Marked around the world by dawn services, April 25th ushers reverence and remembrance, which touches those who can only imagine the horrors of war. 

As a mother of two boys, I shudder to think of the many families who kissed their precious menfolk goodbye, fearing the worst, projecting brave faces, and promising all kinds of un-promisables. 

And I can't help think of the women who watched their families scatter to take their place in a war not of their making. Of the women who rolled bandages at home, praying their sons and husbands would not need them, praying they would get them if they did. Of the trembling fingers, knitting socks to the clack of needles, drawing breath with each new row to petition God with the same request for safety, and quick return. 

And as I donned my apron to bake this Anzac Day, I wondered about the resourcefulness of Australian and New Zealand women who raided their empty pantries for their boys on the front. Oats, a staple in most homes. Golden Syrup, for goodness. And no eggs or butter, as they were most likely not available.

Originally called Soldiers' Biscuits, their arrival at Gallipoli during WWI soon saw them known as Anzacs. Transported in tins or billies to ensure they stayed fresh, these biscuits are now sold yearlong in our supermarkets. Mums and grandmas have baked them for years, and in my home they're always welcome with a cuppa. 

On Anzac Day this year, I baked a double batch to share around. With tradesmen in the house, they didn't last long. Soft, right from the oven, then harder as the cooled, they brought a poignancy to our morning tea, as we stopped to consider the day's significance.  

How do you adequately convey thanks for those who will never age? For those who gave their lives to ensure our freedoms? To the mothers who begged God to bring their boys home? 

In part, it's with the respect of traditions. Steeped in history, we'll continue to bake our Anzac biscuits and as we pass the pretty plate around for a second and third helping, we'll share the story of how they came to be, and why they're worth remembering.

We'll tell the next generation, and then the next, the tales of war and the heros who fought. And salute the fallen with more than a minute of silence, and a sweet biscuit. 

We shall remember them... 

Blessings for a wonderful weekend,