Thursday, May 07, 2015

Poppies for ANZAC

This year we commemorated 100 years since the landing of our troops in Galipoli during WWI. This has been honoured in many ways around the country with dawn parades, and displays. My quilting club the Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters Group made fabric poppies which went onto a quilt that Sandra Bentley made that was included in the 'From Tauranga to the Trenches' display that has been on display at Classic Flyers. There are 110 poppies on this quilt representing the 110 lives of men that were from Tauranga.

I went through the display last Friday and was so engrossed in the display that I forgot to take any photos. Sandra's quilt is at the entrance of the display and then inside is a mural with 3000 knitted poppies lying as a sea of red. The display starts with a timeline and then has four containers which contain letters and communications from our men talking of their experiences and their feelings as they inadvertintly make history. The stories give you a sense of the people that these men were and the lives they led and a sense of what was going on at that time. This is the story of Taurangas men and the events that took place and how they came to be involved in this war and their part in making our history what it is. 

I found the display incredibly emotional - reading the stories, looking at the photos, diagrams and paraphernalia and was very pleased that I hadn't gone to view it on ANZAC Day like I had originally planned as I found attending the dawn parade a very emotional experience as well.

Saturday April 25th hubby and I attended the dawn service at Mount Maunganui, we left the house in the quiet of the pre dawn, the neighbourhood was incredibly quiet and still. We got to the expressway and I was surprised by the amount of cars that were on the road and we were all going in the same general direction. We got as close as we dared and parked the car and walked the rest of the way on foot. There were people, lots of people all quietly getting out of their cars and all walking, quietly all towards the same place. People merging with the flow as you got closer, all moving quietly, all for the same purpose. Walking along Marine Parade towards the service in the dark, people all around you, the sound of the ocean and the waves lapping  onto the shore - it wasn't hard to imagine what our men experienced as they landed onto the beach at Gallipoli, my emotions were running very high. Standing in the dark amongst a crowd of people who were there for exactly the same reason as me, listening to the service, the ocean and the approaching planes for the flyover was one of the most emotional experiences of my life so far. The breaking of the dawn and people laying wreaths, quietly waiting for their turn to have photos taken, people disbanding and making their way back to their normal activities. Never before have I felt such a sense of unity with such a large group of people like that.

Photos showing people disbanding and making their way back up the beach following the dawn service.

As one of the projects that our Patchwork and Quilters Group have done recently not only did we make yo yo poppies for the quilt, but we made poppy broaches. Thanks to Melanie for demonstrating this project and for providing kits for our use, we were able to create these beautiful broaches. I know that I wore mine with pride, not just because I had made it but also for what all it stood for.

I enjoyed rifling through my button jar to find that beautiful black button. There is something therapeutic about rummaging through a jar of buttons like that, searching for just the right one to give your project some extra sparkle. 

A very heartfelt thank you to all the people that helped make ANZAC Day for me this year one to remember always.