Anthony W. Pahl

Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Australian Capital Territory
October 1992

The bugle made one jarring note as the bugler’s tears damn broke,
and The Last Post took on a haunting sound as on that note we choked.
Almost like a rifle shot in the silence of the dawn,
that forlorn note scarred the air on that freezing October morn.

Suddenly the air was rocked with that sound from Vietnam
Even those who’d never heard it ere, heard it loudly once again
And a bearded biker in a leather jacket and a girl ‘bout half my age
Fell to their knees in awful pain with hands clasped as they prayed.

And all around a score or more of wounded fell to the ground
as they heard that noise of life and death…
that uniquely Nam bred sound.

The pulsing drums of birds with guns beset all hearts on Anzac Parade.
Eyes turned skywards in sudden awe as memories rose from the grave.
With mouths agape and minds benumbed, all those present on the lawn
sought hands to hold in the morning cold; an Australian family was reborn.

Truth’s granite symbol was born that day to protect our naked backs;
A place to set our minds to rest while confronting fears’ attacks.
A shrine to stand eternally for rejected youth and a nation’s shames;
a truth to touch as we scream ‘allowed’ our friends’ forgotten names.

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And nothing moved
No sound was made
We walked silently away
And I felt deep down within my heart
I’d come back home that day.

ANZAC Parade - Canberra ACT
ANZAC Parade - Canberra, Australian Capital Territoy