Perspective

In 2001 I was the Executive Officer of the Victorian Basketball League and at the end of each season our Champion and Runner-up in both men and women came together with the winners of other Leagues to compete in the Australian Basketball Championships to determine who was the best team in the country.  It was September and on the Tuesday prior to the weekend of the Championships the date was one that would go down as one of the most infamous in history, September 11.   That same week Ansett Airlines here in Australia collapsed and that meant that the teams could not get to Bendigo in regional Victoria to compete.

The Championships were cancelled that year and there was a major hue and cry from many people about what a tragedy it was.  I wrote an article for the VBL website that week and said in part that there were thousands of people who would go to bed that night never seeing their mother, father, son, daughter, husband and wife again.   I told people to get a grip and understand what true tragedy was and it wasn’t about the cancellation of basketball games.

In the past couple of days we’ve seen another airline, Qantas shut down for a few days and the ranting and raving of people stranded around the world and unable to get home.  There was a photo of a bloke in the Sunday Herald Sun who refused to give his name but who was displaying such anger and hatred in his expression that it looked as if he could have gotten hold of Qantas CEO Alan Joyce that he would have ripped his throat out.

And at the same time that the Qantas Board made the decision to ground the airline on Saturday there were a company of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan who were being slaughtered by an Afghan soldier they had  mentored.  Three brave young Australians and an Afghan interpreter were killed and seven other Australians injured.   This act had it’s genesis on that same day more than ten years ago and it sickens me that I sit here now having to write the same thing that I did back then.

I don’t give a stuff about an airline going bust or being grounded.  It’s an inconvenience for all those people delayed.   The sun will come up tomorrow and other planes will fly.  But again we have young wives who won’t see their husbands, children without fathers, Mums and Dads who will wake to nightmare again tomorrow and the day after and the day after that.

Get some perspective people.  Understand what really matters.  RIP guys may you never be forgotten.

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The Ghosts of Soldiers Past


I have been absent again for a few days this week only this time in Canberra where son number 1 graduated as an officer in the Australian Army from the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

I am one very proud father again at the moment but also a little fearful of what the future holds. Having said that I know that he is absolutely committed to this career as were the other 140 young men and women who graduated with him as the Class of 2007.

I was also very grateful for the five mates of his that took time off work to attend the graduation ceremony.

My son follows in the footsteps of one great-Grandfather who was a Rat of Tobruk, another who was at Gallipoli and yet another who fought for three years on the Western Front in World War 1. He has great-great-uncles who were in the Pacific and Malaya in World War 2, who fought with both the American and Australian armies in Papua New Guinea. The uncle after whom I was named was killed by the Japanese on the first day of the invasion of Rabaul and others were prisoners at Changi and on the Burma Railway. So there is a long and proud military history in my family and i am sure those ghosts of soldiers past were standing there proudly watching another of our number join their ranks.

So forgive my absence in particular from your blogs, I will get back to commenting on them over the next few days I hope.

The Ghosts of Soldiers Past


I have been absent again for a few days this week only this time in Canberra where son number 1 graduated as an officer in the Australian Army from the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

I am one very proud father again at the moment but also a little fearful of what the future holds. Having said that I know that he is absolutely committed to this career as were the other 140 young men and women who graduated with him as the Class of 2007.

I was also very grateful for the five mates of his that took time off work to attend the graduation ceremony.

My son follows in the footsteps of one great-Grandfather who was a Rat of Tobruk, another who was at Gallipoli and yet another who fought for three years on the Western Front in World War 1. He has great-great-uncles who were in the Pacific and Malaya in World War 2, who fought with both the American and Australian armies in Papua New Guinea. The uncle after whom I was named was killed by the Japanese on the first day of the invasion of Rabaul and others were prisoners at Changi and on the Burma Railway. So there is a long and proud military history in my family and i am sure those ghosts of soldiers past were standing there proudly watching another of our number join their ranks.

So forgive my absence in particular from your blogs, I will get back to commenting on them over the next few days I hope.

The Ghosts of Soldiers Past


I have been absent again for a few days this week only this time in Canberra where son number 1 graduated as an officer in the Australian Army from the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

I am one very proud father again at the moment but also a little fearful of what the future holds. Having said that I know that he is absolutely committed to this career as were the other 140 young men and women who graduated with him as the Class of 2007.

I was also very grateful for the five mates of his that took time off work to attend the graduation ceremony.

My son follows in the footsteps of one great-Grandfather who was a Rat of Tobruk, another who was at Gallipoli and yet another who fought for three years on the Western Front in World War 1. He has great-great-uncles who were in the Pacific and Malaya in World War 2, who fought with both the American and Australian armies in Papua New Guinea. The uncle after whom I was named was killed by the Japanese on the first day of the invasion of Rabaul and others were prisoners at Changi and on the Burma Railway. So there is a long and proud military history in my family and i am sure those ghosts of soldiers past were standing there proudly watching another of our number join their ranks.

So forgive my absence in particular from your blogs, I will get back to commenting on them over the next few days I hope.

And the band played waltzing matilda

Today I awoke to the news that Australia had it’s first battlefield death in Afghanistan. All we know of him at the moment is that he was a 40 year old father of two based in Brisbane. That it is the first death by direct attack, in itself is remarkable given that we have been there since day one with our allies and is perhaps a testament to the training and demeanour of our soldiers. It is a tragedy for the family of the young man killed and I fear that he is the first of more to come. With son number 1 likely to be sent overseas next year it is particularly poignant for me.

I could write reams about whether our presence in Afghanistan and Iraq is justified or not and could write an entire thesis proving both points of view. The one thing I do not doubt is that the men and women of the Australian Defence Force who are serving, do so in the knowledge that they are putting their lives on the line, and that it is their job and their duty.

I saw this on the comments to that news story above. I don’t know where it originated nor who wrote it.

Ode to Soldiers Brave

Come share a glass, imbibe with me
On the eve of this historic day,
Take wine and meat, let’s celebrate
In the tried and trusted way.
Let us toast the victory
Before we count the cost
Wrap the peace around us
Ere we cry for those we’ve lost.
Come share a glass, imbibe with me
As I salute my fallen friends,
Through their unselfish sacrifice
We reap the dividends.
Their sacrifice was the seeds of peace,
Their struggle was our fight
They answered the call when it was made,
So that we could sleep safe at night.
Come share a glass, imbibe with me
Drink from the fountain of their faith,
Believe in the life they laid down for us
Fear not the message of the wraith.
For that ghostly spectre bought your peace
With all that he could give,
He paid the price of life itself
So that you and I may live.

It is for us time to remember and whether or not we should be there, the following Eric Bogle song is a reminder of the horror of war.

And the band played waltzing matilda

Today I awoke to the news that Australia had it’s first battlefield death in Afghanistan. All we know of him at the moment is that he was a 40 year old father of two based in Brisbane. That it is the first death by direct attack, in itself is remarkable given that we have been there since day one with our allies and is perhaps a testament to the training and demeanour of our soldiers. It is a tragedy for the family of the young man killed and I fear that he is the first of more to come. With son number 1 likely to be sent overseas next year it is particularly poignant for me.

I could write reams about whether our presence in Afghanistan and Iraq is justified or not and could write an entire thesis proving both points of view. The one thing I do not doubt is that the men and women of the Australian Defence Force who are serving, do so in the knowledge that they are putting their lives on the line, and that it is their job and their duty.

I saw this on the comments to that news story above. I don’t know where it originated nor who wrote it.

Ode to Soldiers Brave

Come share a glass, imbibe with me
On the eve of this historic day,
Take wine and meat, let’s celebrate
In the tried and trusted way.
Let us toast the victory
Before we count the cost
Wrap the peace around us
Ere we cry for those we’ve lost.
Come share a glass, imbibe with me
As I salute my fallen friends,
Through their unselfish sacrifice
We reap the dividends.
Their sacrifice was the seeds of peace,
Their struggle was our fight
They answered the call when it was made,
So that we could sleep safe at night.
Come share a glass, imbibe with me
Drink from the fountain of their faith,
Believe in the life they laid down for us
Fear not the message of the wraith.
For that ghostly spectre bought your peace
With all that he could give,
He paid the price of life itself
So that you and I may live.

It is for us time to remember and whether or not we should be there, the following Eric Bogle song is a reminder of the horror of war.