It was a privilege and delight being a part of an Anzac memorial yesterday. It, like so many others around the country, was so much more than a memorial. And I came away from it with so much more than remembering.
A community gathering communities, a touching sense of togetherness and reciprocity, a celebration of singers like Vera Lynn and Gracie Fields - who I didn't know was a mechanic! - who rallied and supported the troops who fought for our rights to live as we choose. A large dining hall absolutely crammed full of people, younger through to young at heart, wearing poppies and waving flags, there to honour those gone before as well as those present. The Andrew Sisters under the apple blossom tree in their garrison caps. A lamplight lit in a corner, with Lili Marlene being serenaded. A grandmother proudly noticing her young grandson singing along. A family thrilled to see grandparents up, singing, smiling, and then chatting afterwards. As the chief organiser-recruiter-choreographer-pianist-singer-and clearly beloved community member said, there was a mix of the classic war-time tunes, a bit of play and humour, as well as sad songs. By the way, have you ever noticed how many tunes involve apple blossoms or chestnut trees?
I proudly joined in singing along with everyone, proud to know the tunes which reminded me of the many young at heart I've sung them with over the years at this time of year. Proud to be able to remember and honour those who I've met and had the privilege to spend time with since beginning my music therapy journey, who have shared elements of their experiences serving in the navy, or the air-force, or the army, and their songs. As well as those who have reminisced about hearing the greats sing live - both during the war and after. Proud to be able to remember and honour those who fought for us - the us at the time, the us now and the us of our future - and to do this through song. Proud and touched to see my loved ones up front and centre, being honoured not only for doing their bit but continuing to fight life's ongoing battles.
Today as I walked around the supermarket I breathed deeply, smiling, thankful to be alive and in a land where I feel protected, full of hope - particularly in the current climate - and free. I felt newly rejuvenated in continuing to fight life's ongoing battles, and in continuing to honour, hope and sing.
PS Who sang it better?
It's still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by
NZ Registered Music Therapist, co-creator, songbird, collaborator, advocate, lover-of-music.