In 1930, instead of going down the mines like his father and grandfather before him, my father joined the British Army. He was very intelligent, loved mathematics, and knew a coalmine was not the place for him, so, instead of running away to ‘sea’, he ran away to the army.

As a teenager, I was too busy swooning over Elvis singing Blue Suede Shoes, or Pat Boone crooning “Love letters in the Sand’ to listen to his tales of the twenty odd years he had spent as a soldier. Sadly, by the time I wanted to know about his past, he had died. Afterwards, I found a little box with a few photos, Christmas cards from his parents, and other bits and pieces from his army life.
I found out he had spent time in India, Egypt, the Sudan, Jamaica, and in World War II stayed in England doing something secret. I have no medals apart from one he won for lifesaving. When he was alive, I never thought to ask where they were?’ How foolish I was. 
I always went to the Dawn Parade when I lived in Auckland. I would love to have had his medals dangling on my chest. Everyone walked or marched up to the Cenotaph on Redoubt Hill, Howick, in the dark and watched the sun come up while listening to Laurence Binyon’s nostalgic poem, and the solitary sound of the bugle.
I wrote this poem in memory of every Dawn Parade taking place on 25 April. 

By ©Angela Dold    
Climbing up the hill                                                                                         
in the darkness 
is hard 
For stiff old bones.
Medals clinking
breath steaming
numbers dwindling
Proudly march the old soldiers.
Memories returning
all of them seeing
comrades falling
In the terror that is war.
Names on granite reflecting
red poppies blooming
cold dawn glimmering
In the autumn sky.
Sun rising
hearts holding back… tears
that keep falling
bugle sounding                      
Anzac Day is here...once more.