We live in Tweed Heads and usually on ANZAC dawn service and at the 11.00am service, the Tweed Heads and Coolangatta RSL Branch returned service members gather with the public.
One year when there, Geoff, a Queensland police officer who was on duty at the Tweed Heads-Coolangatta 2007 ANZAC Service. He proudly wore all the family medals, thus illustrating the nature of this sombre occasion.
The medals proudly exhibited on the upper-right of his uniform were his grandfather’s WWI medals, those on the lower-right were his father’s WWII medals, the ones on the upper-left were his own police bravery medals and his police service medals were worn on the lower-left.
We got chatting. Geoff was born at Finch Hatton a community at the bottom of the Eungella range. I was born high up on Eungella in the Crediton dairy farming community.
Geoff’s father signed up in 1940 and was sent overseas; my father signed up in 1942 when Darwin was bombed, and was assigned to the ‘essential duties’ of milk production for the USAF base at Mackay aerodrome.
Geoff’s grandfather came back from WWI whereas Mark’s maternal grandfather was lost at the end of WWI as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps.
The emotions of the passers-by at an ANZAC parade can say as much about the occasion as the marchers. It is an opportunity for people from different backgrounds to meet on mutual memorial turf.
The nature of ANZAC memorial services has always maintained a clear Judeo-Christian emphasis, with Bible readings and prayers. This has reflected the dominant culture within our British heritage, and has become part of the solemnity of the traditional ANZAC services even in recent times when many different religions are incorporated into our secular culture.
2020 ANZAC will be silent from massive crowds due to Covid 19 but nonetheless solemn for the nation. .
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. The above photo is the upper part from this portrait.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html