“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.”
Edited and compiled by: Gerry Cody
All photos: jbs photos Kilkenny
These words are from the pen of poet Robert Laurence Binyon, written in 1914, dealing with Patriotism and Sacrifice.
The poem titled, “For the Fallen” memorializes soldiers who died in battle during World War I. The poem acknowledges the profound loss of the soldiers’ lives while also emphasizing the nobility of their sacrifice.
These words had a special meaning on April 25th when a group from ‘The Kilkenny Great War Memorial Committee’ met to remember Anzac day.
Each year, on April 25th, Australians and New Zealanders come together to honour their people who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.
Originally Anzac day was specific to those who fought in Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
ANZAC stands for “Australian and New Zealand Army Corps” and is one of the most important national celebrations across Australia and New Zealand.
Chair of the ‘Kilkenny Great War Memorial Committee’, Donal Croghan explained to The Kilkenny Observer that 123 people from Kilkenny served in the Anzac forces. Twenty-two soldiers and one nurse died.
And so, at 6 a.m. on Sunday, April 25th, a small group gathered at the World War I monument at The Peace Park in Kilkenny to remember those that had taken part in The Anzac forces.
Mr. Croghan went on to explain that “ 6 a.m. is about the time men of the ANZAC approached the Gallipoli beach. However, the origin is the traditional ‘stand-to’, in which troops would be woken, so that by the first rays of dawn they were in position and alert in case of an enemy attack in the eerie half-light.”
Due to Covid restrictions, the numbers were limited, but a very dignified remembrance took place.
The half hour ceremony saw special guest Tim Millikan, head of Mission at the Australian Embassy, Dublin, light a candle in memory of those who had died and placed it at the Kilkenny Monument.
Mr Millikan, having read the names of those who lost their lives, placed a wreath in their memory.
John Joe Cullen also laid a wreath on behalf of ‘The Kilkenny Great War Memorial Committee’ and recited “For the Fallen” and
“Ode of Remembrance”, while Berni Egan read a prayer.
During the ceremony, recordings of the National Anthems of New Zealand, Australia and Ireland were played.
Former Commandant of Kilkenny Military barracks, Larry Scallan raised the Irish flag to full mast while Charlie Parsons played “Last Post” and “Reveille”.
Donal Croghan concluded proceedings by thanking those in attendance.
The final thought on the morning was taken from an Australian soldier: “This is a day not of celebration but of national memory. It is a day when we learn and learn again, of the horror of purposeless war. It is a day for looking after your mates, cherishing your home, your neighbourhood and family. It is a day for realising how rare this wonderful country of ours is and how precious it is”.