OUR SAY: Anzac Day takes on new meaning
THIS past week, Anzac Day has taken on a new meaning.
For almost a year, my uncle John Smith has been working to organise a huge family reunion for the descendants of my great-grandfather, Francis William Gale Smith.
My great-grandfather died before I was born, so all I have are the stories I've heard from my mum, my uncle and my grandparents.
I always knew he had served in the First World War. There is a faded photo of Frank in the hallway at home, dressed in the uniform of the Australian Imperial Forces, the Australian Army Rising Sun badge on his collar.
It was an exciting moment when as a young boy, my pop pulled out a few badges that his father had brought back from his time in France. He showed me a pair of crossed Vickers machine guns that signified his membership of the Machine Gun Battalion, and the very same Rising Sun that was on his collar in the photo.
That photo is now 100 years old, and it's taken me this long to discover just a fraction of what my great-grandfather endured in his time on the Western Front, in the trenches and the front line.
Now I have had the chance to meet and talk to the descendants of Frank. To think we all wouldn't have been here, had it not been for one man making it home alive, it is amazing and gives a new appreciation on just how lucky he was to make it home.
It also makes me think of the thousands who fought for Australia who weren't so lucky to make it home, and as always, I am thankful for their sacrifice.