We journey to the Shrine along St Kilda Road. Proud leader, magnificent Light Horsemen. The long winding march following. Some marching, some walking. Veterans in cars. Families taking the place of loved ones, no longer with us…Proudly wearing medals, carrying banners. A display of historic military vehicles, some horse-drawn Uniformed servicemen and women, police in step with band music. St Johns Ambulance on call, cadet, guides and scouts .carrying banners, to honour units not represented now. Support and smiles from the crowd, lining the route. TV cameras picturing the parade for those at home. Last, the strong and proud step of the volunteers, who make the day possible. At the Shrine, we participate in a solemn service of remembrance

If this is all there is we do on one day of the year we miss a lot, the portrayal of history by memorabilia on the way. Another day we packed lunch for a picnic at the Royal Botanic Gardens, and slowly made our way from Flinders Street Station.

On Princes Bridge we noted our city Coat of Arms, with the Latin motto, Vires acquirit eundo, we gather strength as we go, the message left by our city forefathers. Looking down, boatsheds, a family picnicking, a ferry on the turn, a rowing eight pushing off from the staging. Admiring the well-ordered Alexandra Gardens, Flower Clock, and Fountain, we come to symbols of our heritage. To mention some: the moving monument to police who died in the line of duty, the towering figure of Sir Edward{Weary}Dunlop, the Christ-like healer of the Thai-Burma Railway, trees sentinel-like, leading up to the Shrine, plaques, naming units from the Boar War on. The statue of Private John Simpson, with his donkey, who saved many lives and gave his. Monuments represent conflicts in Korea, Vietnam. One to Women’s services. The Shrine, so much history, and the names of all who served in WW1, needing another visit. The Legacy Gardens remind us of the lasting effect of war on families.

On to the Gardens, we pass the Children’s Garden,  and wind down between  lawns, flower beds and trees, to  the lake, settling down on the grass for our picnic

A mother duck and family sail by, in perfect precision, safe and secure, in their home of garden and lake. To make that tiny and lovely scene real, for every home and family, a great company, whom we remember today, served, suffered and died. History teaches us arms solve little in the long run…We need to find another way.

Schweitzer’s unforgettable phrase “Reverence for Life”, recognized all life as special. Jesus put the highest value on human life. And the greatest gift is to lay down one’s life for a friend. Jesus recommended his Father’s way to solve conflict in the human family. ”Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Lest we forget.

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