Twelve year old Stacey Cunningham’s rendition of Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child was the clearly the highlight of the service held for Veterans yesterday, according to a spokesperson for the Veterans, who wished to remain anonymous. Since then, the committee has changed its tune.
Angelica Flopp thought that “the choice of song showed a great lack of sympathy for those present who may have been orphaned or lost a parent during the war. There was no need to rub it in.”
Billy Le Blanc agreed. “The song mentions religion, and it was most unsavoury having to listen to religious references when not everyone present was a believer. In fact, it was downright offensive to most of the audience who are either atheists or agnostics.”
As a result, the organizing committee have met and decided that next year, so as not to cause offense, all songs will be replaced with periods of silence.
Today in Australia and New Zealand it is ANZAC Day. ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and is on the anniversary of the greatest defeat at Gallipoli during WWI. The day celebrates the memory of all fallen soldiers and those who served.
I want to tell you a fairly silly thing about my great-uncle, Kemp Scrimshaw, who served in the First World War. He was called Uncle Kemp, although his real name was William Hector. I never knew him, but I happen to live today in the same town in which he died. So every ANZAC Day I visit his grave in the Veterans’ Cemetery and place a poppy on it. Such are the everyday people living ordinary lives, who served in brutal wars…
My older brothers and sisters knew him. He worked in a factory that made lollies. (We call them lollies – some countries call them candy and some sweets and some bonbons and some confectionary and so on.) Anyway, Uncle Kemp worked in a lolly factory after the First World War and always brought my brothers and sisters lots and lots of lollies! Lots of lovely lollies!
I think of his kindness every ANZAC Day when I place the poppy. You see, his grave is only a few feet away from the entrance to the biggest lolly factory in the country!
A departure today! In honour of Armistice Day (Remembrance Day, Veterans Day) I’m posting a recording made in New York during World War II of my mother’s brother, Dick Peers. Air force personnel, upon finishing their training in Canada, would head straight for New York before returning to war.
Nola Luxford, a New Zealand-born actress from Hastings NZ, the same town my uncle came from, had founded the ANZAC Club in New York. Throughout the war, her club hosted over 35,000 New Zealand and Australian troops. My uncle made this recording there to send home to his parents. I hope you can understand his fairly strong New Zealand accent! The Margaret mentioned was a sister, as was my mother, Doreen.