Victorian Association of Jewish Ex & Servicemen & Women Australia Incorporated

Founding Member General Sir John Monash GCMG KCB VD

ANZAC Day Poem - The Best on Earth

The Best on Earth:
An ANZAC & Remembrance Day Tribute

If someone has done military service,
They earn the title "veteran," and more;
They earn our deep respect and admiration;
That they are special no one can ignore.

They sacrificed the comforts we enjoy;
The list is long of all the things they gave;
Our veterans are extraordinary people;
They’re loyal, dedicated, true and brave.

When terror and invasion were real threats,
They showed us they could handle any storm.
We owe our freedoms and our very lives
To our veterans, who served in uniform.

Our veterans should be celebrities;
They’re exceptional; no other group compares.
We’re grateful for the many things they’ve done;
They’re always in our hearts and in our prayers.

We owe our veterans support and friendship;
Let no one ever question what they’re worth.
These men and women served us and our country;
Our veterans - the very best on earth.

By Joanna Fuchs


Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
Our country mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

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.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond our country's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.


ANZAC Requiem
By Charles E W Bean

On this day above all days we recall those who served in war and who did not return to receive the grateful thanks of the nation.

We remember those who still sleep where they were left - amid the holly scrub in the valleys and on the ridges of Gallipoli - on the rocky and terraced hills of Palestine - and in the lovely cemeteries of France.

We remember those who lie asleep in ground beneath the shimmering haze of the Libyan desert - at Bardia, Derna, Tobruk - and amid the mountain passes and olive groves of Greece both on the mainland and on the island of Crete, and the rugged, snow-capped hills of Lebanon and Syria.

We remember those who lie buried in the rank jungle of Malaya and Burma - in New Guinea - and in the distant isles of the Pacific.

We remember those who lie buried amid loving friends in our Motherland and in our own far north.

We remember those who lie in unknown resting places in almost every land, and those gallant men whose grave is in the unending sea.

Especially do we remember those who died as prisoners of war, remote from their homeland, and from the comforting presence of their kith and kin.

We think of those of our women’s services who gave their lives in our own and foreign lands and at sea, and of those who proved to be, in much more than name, the sisters of our fighting men.

We recall too, the staunch friends who fought beside our men on their first Anzac Day - with men of New Zealand who helped to create the name ANZAC.

We recall all those who gave their lives in the Royal Navy, the British Army, the Royal Air Force, the Merchant Service, and in other British Commonwealth and Allied Forces, and we think of those British men and women who fell, when, for the second time in history, their nation and its kindred stood against the overwhelming might of an    oppressor. We think of every man and woman who in those crucial years died so that the lights of freedom and humanity might continue to shine.

We shall be ever mindful too, of those brave men who left our shores and died in Korea, Malaya, Borneo, Vietnam, Afghanistan and in Peacekeeping Forces, helping to safeguard the Commonwealth and other countries of the Free World. They fought against the on-march of enemies who were thrusting to obtain new bases from which they may attack and destroy our freedom. This freedom was won from two world wars and cost the lives of a hundred thousand Australians.

May these all rest proudly in the knowledge of their achievement, and may we and our successors in that heritage left to us, prove worthy of their sacrifice.


In Flanders’ Field
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

In Flanders’ Fields the poppies blow
Between the headstones, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders’ fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders’ fields.

We Shall Keep the Faith
Moina Michael

Oh! You who sleep in Flanders’ Fields
Sleep sweet - to rise anew;
We caught the torch you threw,
And holding high we kept
The faith with those who died.
We cherish, too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valour led.
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
But lends a lustre to the red
On the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders’ fields.

And now the torch and Poppy red
Wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught:
We've learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders’ fields.


Out of Step
By Stew Law

I watched the army marching by
With energy and pep.
But then one soldier caught my eye
'Cos he was out of step.

I laughed at him, that silly fool,
He was a woeful sight.
They ought to send him back to school.
Why can't he get it right?

But as I watched I heard the band,
And listened to their beat.
And though that army marched so grand,
They missed it with their feet.

Yes, everyone was out of step,
Except that lonely bloke.
That army wasn't quite so hep.
It really was a joke.

It made me think of life today,
And how some people laugh
At those who choose a higher way,
And speak on G-d's behalf.

I may be out of step with man
While walking with my G-d,
But G-d has got a greater plan.
Who cares if I look odd!


I Watched The Flag Pass By One Day
Author Unknown

I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil
How many mothers' tears?

How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.
I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still,
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant "Amein,"
When a flag had draped a coffin.
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free.


Elizabeth Soutter Schwarzer
Wife of a United States Marine

I never wore the uniform,
No medals on my chest.
The band it doesn’t play for me,
I am not among “the Best.”
I do not march in cadence,
I do not rate salute,
I stand among the silent ranks,
Our devotion absolute.

If you’ve not worn my shoes,
You do not know my story.
I live a life of sacrifice,
My reward a private glory.
I’ve wept many silent nights away,
And I’ve kept the home fires burning.
I’ve worried and I’ve waited,
As world events were churning.

I’ve moved more times than you could fathom,
Left more people than you’ve known.
I’ve planted gardens ‘round the world
Very few that I’ve seen grown.
I’ve grieved with new-made widows,
And had my share of scares
When a ship or plane or man was down,
And all I had were prayers.

I’m not asking for your sympathy,
(Although appreciation can be nice)
I did it quite on purpose though
I chose to sacrifice.
I’ll tell you a secret now,
One you’d never guess.
About the one glory that is mine,
It’s just enough - no more, no less.

When you and I stand together
As our national anthem plays,
I’ll fill with reminiscences
Of how I spent those days.
I’ll know the pain and joys again,
I’ll know that freedom isn’t free,
I’ll know I’ve helped to pay the price
And that the anthem plays for me.


The Silent Ranks

I wear no uniforms, no blues or greens.
But, I am in the military, in the ranks rarely seen.

I have no rank upon my shoulders. Salutes I do not give.
But in the military world is where I live and am rarely seen.

I am not in the chain of command, orders I do not give or get.
But my husband is the one who does, this I can not forget.

I am not the one who fires a weapon, Who puts his life on the line.
But my job is just as tough, I'm the one who is always left behind.

My husband is a patriot, a brave and pride filled man.
And the call to serve his country not all can understand.

Behind the lines, I see things needed to keep this country free.
My husband makes the sacrifice, but so do my kids and me.

I love the man I married. The military is his life.
So I pledge to support my hero and stand among the silent ranks known as



A Poem for Remembrance Day
“The inquisitive mind of a child”

Why are they selling poppies, Mummy?
Selling poppies in town today.  
     The poppies, child, are flowers of love.  
     For the men who marched away.

But why have they chosen a poppy, Mummy?
Why not a beautiful rose?  
     Because my child, men fought and died  
     In the fields where the poppies grow.

But why are the poppies so red, Mummy?
Why are the poppies so red?  
     Red is the colour of blood, my child.  
     The blood that our soldiers shed.

The heart of the poppy is black, Mummy.
Why does it have to be black?  
     Black, my child, is the symbol of grief.  
     For the men who never came back.

But why, Mummy are you crying so?
Your tears are giving you pain.  
     My tears are my fears for you my child.  
     For the world is forgetting again.


by A. Lawrence Vaincourt

I saw the soldiers marching, one drear November day,
Those heroes bold, from wars of old, in countries far away.
I heard the drums like thunder, the sound of marching feet,
As men of ancient valor marched down our little street.

I heard the skirl of bagpipes, the blare of brasses bold,
As heroes from another time relived the days of old.
The old, the halt, the lame, the slow, they marched with solemn pace,
To honour comrades fallen at another time and place.

I felt the tightness in my throat, the tears that burned my eyes,
As I watched the quiet dignity of old men marching by.
The fine young men, and women too, in battles long ago,
Who gave their youth and some, their lives, to fight our country’s foe.

On this day will be remembered by comrades who remain,
And by the heavens, weeping, with softly falling rain.
The medals softly jingling on every passing chest,
In memory of companions who’ve long been laid to rest.

There are some unfit, and some who sit, in wheelchairs, row on row,
While they recall what price was paid to turn our country’s foe.
And some will stand with tear-dimmed eyes, and some with faces grim,
While all repeat the solemn vow,


Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives...
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore, rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets
To us where they lie side by side,
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries...
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land, They have become our sons as well.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (19 May 1881 - 10 November 1938) was a Turkish army officer, reformist statesman, and the first President of Turkey. During the Second Balkan War in 1913 he became the chief of staff of the army in the Gallipoli Peninsula, until posted as military attaché at the Turkish embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria. Kemal returned to Gallipoli in 1915 as commander of the 19th Division, the main reserve of the Turkish Fifth Army, and was thus on hand to oppose the Anzac landing in April. His superb grasp of strategy and ability to inspire his troops by his reckless bravery in action boosted Turkish morale and proved decisive in thwarting allied plans. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey. His surname, Atatürk (meaning “Father of the Turks”), was granted to him in 1934 and forbidden to any other person by the Turkish parliament. Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, he led the Turkish National Movement in the Turkish War of Independence. Having established a provisional government in Ankara, he defeated the forces sent by the Allies. His military campaigns led to victory in the Turkish War of Independence. In 1934 Atatürk wrote this tribute to the ANZACs killed at Gallipoli.

ANZAC Day Poem - All The Bloomin' Way

ANZAC Day Poem
All The Bloomin' Way

I saw a boy marching, with medals on his chest,
He marched alongside Diggers, marching six abreast,
He knew it was ANZAC Day, he marched along with pride,
And did his best to keep in step, with the Diggers by his side,
And when the march was over, the boy looked rather tired,
A Digger asked, "Whose medals Son?" to which the boy replied,
"They belong to my Dad, but he didn't come back,
"He died in New Guinea, up on the Kokoda Track.
The boy looked rather sad - a tear came to his eye,
But the Digger said, "Don't worry Son - I'll tell you why.
"Your old Man marched with us today, all the bloomin' way,
"All us Diggers knew he was here, it's like that on ANZAC Day.

The boy looked rather puzzled, he didn't understand.
But the Digger went on talking and started to wave his hand.
"For this great land we live in, there's a price we have to pay,
"To keep Australia free, and fly our flag today,
"Yes we all love fun and merriment, in this country where we live,
"But the price was that some soldier, his precious life must give,
"For you to go to school my Son, and worship G~d at will,
"Somebody had to pay the price, so our Diggers paid the bill.
"Your old Man died for us my Son, for all things good and true,
"I hope you can understand, these words I've said to you.

The boy looked up at the Digger, and after a little while,
His face changed expression, and he said, with a beautiful smile,
"I know my Dad marched here today, this our ANZAC Day.
"I know he did. I know he did.
"All the bloomin' way!

by D Hunter of 2/12th Bn, 18 Bde 7th Div, who fought at  Shaggy Ridge 1943



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