Anne Marie's Australian Adventure

Follow the Adventures of Anne Marie, Fergus, Cooper and Bean Sidhe in Australia!!

A Visit to the Anzac Memorial

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on October 27, 2008

We finally visited the Australian War Memorial.  It is a memorial, military museum, and art gallery. It has sections dedicated to the different wars that the Australian Armed forces have been involved from Sudan and the Boar War thru to the current nonsense in Iraq. There were displays of airplanes, tanks and all sorts of weaponry, even the bridge of an old battleship. I enjoyed the exhibits of uniforms and nurses outfits and clothing of the different periods the best. There were plenty of sections honoring famous war heroes who I’m sure are as well known to the Australians as Washington, Patton and MacArthur are to Americans, but frankly unknown to me.

On the steps of the Anzac Memorial facing the Old and New Parliment buildings in the far background.

On the steps of the Anzac Memorial facing the Old and New Parliment buildings in the far background.

The memorial was visited by groups of school children. There assignment – which I overheard given by their teacher – was to pick from the Hall of Valour one person and get the information about them – name, where they served what they did to get the VC – Victorian Cross , the Australian equivalent of the US’s Congressional Medal of Honor. The Hall of Valour has on display the largest collection of these medals along with a history and picture or portrait of each of the recipients and their other medals – very impressive.

There was one display about prisoner of war camps in Germany during WWII. A soldier had taken a coin and chiseled out the center image and created a pin out of the center for his fiancee and a necklace for himself from the the coin’s outer circle. He told her that they should wear them until they are reunited after the war and the coin can be rejoined. He died in the prison camp. They had on display the necklace and the pin in the case. I guess by then I was so emotionally on edge seeing all the weapons and reading about all the lives lost in all the wars over the years that I just broke into tears. I was inconsolable for several minutes. Fergus just hugged me while I stood there crying surrounded by noisy school boys who just thought all this stuff about war and dying was somehow cool. I wanted to say, “This could be you. This could be your sweetheart – broken hearted and alone.”

I found out later that their two families did not know about the coin until the sweetheart died as an old lady and they found her pin. Her family knew she had lost a boyfriend in the war. It wasn’t until they heard about the necklace at the war memorial did they realize that her pin was the other half. Finally in death they were united – I know I’m a hopeless romantic but it makes me tear up just thinking about it.

The grounds of the Memorial are beautiful. Along the paths are plaques honoring different platoons and ships and air force crews. There are cannon barrels on display and along the road up to the building there are statues honoring each war. Trees and lawns cover the sloping landscape. It was a moving experience.

Giant trees on the grounds of the Memorial.

Giant trees on the grounds of the Memorial.

 For bother Danny I’ve included pictures of some of the airplanes displayed inside the Memorial.

 

 

 

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