For the past two years, our ANZAC Day commemorations have taken on a very different life. For many of us, dawn was greeted from our homes or in limited gatherings. I have had people say to me that the silent standing at each front gate or driveway brought a renewed personalised meaning to the great sacrifices that we pay tribute to.
There is something to be said about that honouring from the heart of the ‘home’ – for that is what we remember – the devastating heartbreak and loss to families; the courage and strength borne by loved ones; the loss of childhood innocence and the chance to journey through the rituals of life; the homecomings filled with mixed emotions and great change; injured lives and the ripples of hardship.
No matter how we celebrate at a national level – the heart is always at the local. The sacrifices come, not from governments or corporations, but from human beings – from those we love.
This ANZAC Day, as we gather in whatever way we can with gratitude and respect, let us also remember the mothers and fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, loved ones – and especially children, who travelled that hard and difficult journey too. The great emotional wounds of war should never be forgotten.
Might our prayers hold close the great gift of the ordinariness of our lives, that we might always share our care, compassion and accompaniment with those who most need our help.
This year too, may these prayers embrace the families and loved ones who are facing the renewed pain and devastation of conflict across the globe.
God of peace be with them, and us, always.
In your eternal dawn we live in hope, and we remember them.
Sr Mary Helen OP10 August 2022