Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lest we forget.


Anzac day 2011 was the last time I saw Ash. We shared a beer at breakfast and a few too many at the RSL before we headed back to his olds place for a few (A LOT) more drinks.

My best mate Dale and his brother Ashley were heading to Afghanistan in the coming months.The best way to catch up before they left was showing my respect to them and the past service men and women was on ANZAC DAY. At the end of the day I wished them safe travels and headed home.

It wasn’t long later that I saw them on the news in their QLD State Of Origin jersey’s in the middle of the desert playing footy. The next thing I know Ash is being interviewed by Channel Ten (from memory) about being in Afghan with his brother and what it was like serving overseas together. 

Another few months went by with next to no contact. It was starting to get close to the time when the boys were due to return home… I was woken early one morning by a phone call. It was my best mates partner… She spoke to my wife and I could tell by the look on her face it wasn’t good. She was ringing to say Ash had been shot and killed in Afghanistan…

I will never forget that day for as long as I live. I have heard stories from my uncle who served in Vietnam, as well as on the news BUT you never think it will be someone you know.  

I have lost my fair share of people in my life but I cannot start to begin to understand how my best mate would have felt and still feels today having lost his brother and best mate. I don’t want to be a burden but I want him to know I’m always here and happy to help with ANYTHING. 

I was asked to speak at Ash’s funeral which was a huge honour. I had NO IDEA how I would but somehow I got through it. Somewhere from deep inside comes strength, a feeling that you have a job to do and you get it done. I saw the same determination on my cousin’s face when he spoke at his dad’s funeral. 

So 1 year on from my last catch up with Ash. Just a week after what would have been his 23rd birthday it is ANZAC DAY again. I will today attend the dawn service and I will give thanks to those who have served our country BUT today will never be the same again.

I am honored to have known Ash and to call him a mate. I am proud of all those men and women past and present who serve this great nation….and particularly grateful to those who fought and died in the service of this great country and to their families left behind. I raise a glass.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them. 
This is now my ANZAC DAY storey…

Who are you proud of?
Who do you remember on this day?

20 comments:

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    1. PS. I love your post aswell...

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  2. Dean, thank you for sharing this story. It's beautifully written and shows so much respect and compassion for Ash and his family, and all the service people.
    My thoughts are with you and Ash's family.

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  3. This is a lovely story. So very sad, Ash was far too young. Great respect from our house to our serving and past soldiers.

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  4. Dean, Thank you so much for your story. It shows how much respect and compassion you have a for Ash and his Family and all the other service people.

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  5. A lovely reminder of why we continue to pay our respects on Anzac Day ... Heartfelt words I will be thinking of later when my kids are marching later. :)

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  6. Beautiful post Dean, I am so grateful to people like Ash, past and present service men and women and their families for what they have sacrificed so that I may enjoy this wonderful country of ours. Today has always had significance to me and I will not only be thinking of my grandad but Ash too. I will never forget.

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  7. What a lovely memorial post Dean. I too was at a dawn service and I said a quiet prayer for the men and women serving our great country. A wish of sorts, that they return home safe and no one has to receive the phone call that you did. Lest we forget

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  8. Dean your such a special person and to share this beautiful story shows you wear your heart on your sleave, your passion and raw emotion shines so clearly in this story and I raise my glass to you to have the courage to share. Your a true friend and I'm sure your mate was proud to have had you in his life.

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  9. Dean thank you so much for sharing this story. Raising a glass today for all our men and women. Much love to you x

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  10. A beautiful post about your friend. Thank Gof for him, his brother and all who serve or have served. Their sacrifice and that of their families and friends is immense. I wrote an ANZAC post late last night and listed the names and ages of the 32 soldiers who had lost their lives in Afghanistan this past decade. Your friend Ashley will not be forgotten. May he rest in peace x

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  11. What a beautiful post xx thinking of your friend and everyone who sacrificed everything for us xx

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  12. Well done deano! sitting at my computer with a couple of tears remembering a great bloke. Have a good one in Kilcoy, seeya on Friday mate!

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  13. Really nicely written Dean!!

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  14. A beautiful tribute Dean. If there is one thing I have learnt with Dad and his army mates is the mateship that is formed. I have rarely seen it so strong anywhere else.

    I am proud of my Dad on this day!

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  15. Cheers everyone for the kind words. I thought I was sharing with 10 people. We had a great day In Kilcoy and will never forget what today is all about...
    Lest we forget

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  16. An awesome tribute to a man who was far too young to leave his friends and family and served his country in a way we will never know. He is one of the many that we owe our gratitude, freedom and way of life. I don't know you or your friend, but I know he must have been a wonderful person. How? Because only wonderful people have wonderful things like this tribute written about them.
    Lest we forget.

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    1. Thanks Kel,
      I am only just getting around to reading all the comments but i will have a look around your blog, Thanks for stopping by.

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  17. Dean, it does get easier as time goes by but you never forget. I can't imagine how Dale feels losing a brother in those circumstances in a supposedly safe harbour,It was hard enough losing Ken. I found it hard losing mates whilst under fire and it still lives with me today but you try to remember the good times. It helps you get through. You are doing the best thing by just being there if needed, that is what mates do

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This is the part where you get to have your say. Go on, just keep it above the belt.

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