Maybe because it’s personal in a way it never was for us now. Maybe because with every year that goes by I long for peace in a way I never knew I could long for anything. Maybe because there is a boy {despite the man he was becoming, he was still SO young} who will never be with his family again. Will never light up a room with his cheeky smile. Never got to set foot on Australian soil again.

I remember one night you regaled us with stories of your chosen career. Arms waving, voice raised with excitement and pride. Boasting, in a way only you could get away with, that you would out rank your brother in no time. Boyish. Cheeky. Committed. We remember you like that. Kel and I. That’s who you will always be for us. A small part of the big memory you have left behind. A big hole for so many. This is our tiny place, our moment of your sunshine. A solider. A friend. An uncle. A brother. A son.

Lest we forget. But we won’t forget. We’ll never forget.

{I really hope you’ll pop over and read the Anzac Day post my brother wrote. It makes me cry. He lost a friend and his best mate lost his little brother. It’s going to be a hard day for these guys. Please send your love. xox}

edit: post transcribed below.

Anzac day 2011 was the last time I saw Ash. We shared a beer at breakfast and a few too many at the RSL before we headed back to his olds place for a few (A LOT) more drinks.

My best mate Dale and his brother Ashley were heading to Afghanistan in the coming months.The best way to catch up before they left was showing my respect to them and the past service men and women was on ANZAC DAY. At the end of the day I wished them safe travels and headed home.

It wasn’t long later that I saw them on the news in their QLD State Of Origin jersey’s in the middle of the desert playing footy. The next thing I know Ash is being interviewed by Channel Ten (from memory) about being in Afghan with his brother and what it was like serving overseas together.

Another few months went by with next to no contact. It was starting to get close to the time when the boys were due to return home… I was woken early one morning by a phone call. It was my best mates partner… She spoke to my wife and I could tell by the look on her face it wasn’t good. She was ringing to say Ash had been shot and killed in Afghanistan…

I will never forget that day for as long as I live. I have heard stories from my uncle who served in Vietnam, as well as on the news BUT you never think it will be someone you know.

I have lost my fair share of people in my life but I cannot start to begin to understand how my best mate would have felt and still feels today having lost his brother and best mate. I don’t want to be a burden but I want him to know I’m always here and happy to help with ANYTHING.

I was asked to speak at Ash’s funeral which was a huge honour. I had NO IDEA how I would but somehow I got through it. Somewhere from deep inside comes strength, a feeling that you have a job to do and you get it done. I saw the same determination on my cousin’s face when he spoke at his dad’s funeral.

So 1 year on from my last catch up with Ash. Just a week after what would have been his 23rd birthday it is ANZAC DAY again. I will today attend the dawn service and I will give thanks to those who have served our country BUT today will never be the same again.

I am honored to have known Ash and to call him a mate. I am proud of all those men and women past and present who serve this great nation….and particularly grateful to those who fought and died in the service of this great country and to their families left behind. I raise a glass.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
This is now my ANZAC DAY storey…

Who are you proud of?
Who do you remember on this day?