Before dawn tomorrow hundreds of people across the Hills will brave the cold and make the pilgrimage to their local war memorial.
Ninety-nine years after the start of one of the world’s bloodiest wars we will pause to remember those young men who fought and died at Gallipoli, marking the first major military action fought by Australian and NZ troops in WW1.
It is heartening to see the resurgence in numbers at these services.
Many feature school students, who read poems or extracts of letters and diaries from the front, and army cadets who form a catafalque party and stand sentinel at the memorial.
But in our rush to recognise the heroic deeds, mateship and camaraderie of war, we must not risk glorifying some of the most horrific times in our nation’s history.
Perhaps this Anzac Day as we stand in silence we should remember the sacrifices – not just the young lives lost, but also those who returned home irreparably damaged by injury or the shock and horror of what they lived through.
We should remember what the boys and men on the frontline really endured – the terror of scrambling out of trenches to fight the enemy, the cries of agony from the wounded, the sight of watching a mate cut down in front of them.
We should remember the families left behind in Australia for months or even years on end, not knowing whether their husbands, sons, fathers or brothers would return.
We should remember the economic hardship, the food rationing, the countless deaths to diseases such as the Spanish Flu that followed when the troops returned home.
These are some of the true costs of war.
Lest we forget.
The frustration expressed by the Mt Barker Council and the community at a lack of action on developing the proposed Big W site in the town centre is understandable.
It has been years since the land was cleared and sold to Woolworths, and then last year the company withdrew its plan for a major shopping complex after criticism from the council’s planners.
As the last major undeveloped site in the town centre, there is an eagerness from the community to see something happen there.
But it is also important that the town gets the quality of development its residents deserve.
While that may take time, it should be worth the wait.