Posted 1st June 2016 by Bernie Jamieson - Bernies African Odysessy
When we arrived we were given a program and a small candle wrapped in a serviette (to stop the wax drip), a sprig of rosemary (which was found growing wild all over the Gallipoli peninsular in 1915), a red plastic poppy (that has become a symbol of war remembrance the world over) and then we found a spot to stand. There would have been around 200 people that had turned up to commemorate our Australian soldiers. There seemed to be less people than last year’s service, but it was a Monday morning, so maybe people had to work and the weather was less than desirable.
The Dawn Service started with a welcome and a Call to Commemoration by the Australian High Commissioner, the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey said a few words, the Call to Prayer was said, the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ was sung by a local children’s choir and another hymn ‘Before the Throne of God Above’.
The rest of the program followed with the wreath laying from Diplomatic, Defence and community representatives (which took a good 25 minutes as around 15 countries paid their respects individually), an ‘Ode of Remembrance’ was read, the Last Post was played, which always gives me a shiver and an emotional feeling, a one minutes silence was recorded, the Reveille, the flag raising of the Kenyan, Australian and New Zealand flag and finally the national anthems of all three countries was played.
It was a wonderful service and I am totally glad and proud that I got up at the crack of dawn, literally, for this experience. It is an honor to attend an Australian service in Kenya.