Names on a Wall.

Owen Zupp - Friday, December 09, 2011

The Australian War Memorial is both a remarkable and sacred place. Within its walls are not only the artefacts, but the voices and tales of those who have gone before. The smallest item may be of tremendous significance, while the impressive Lancaster bomber cannot help but invoke a sense of awe within the appropriately darkened hall.


Yet for all of the amazing relics that are housed within its walls, the surface of some of the outer walls is what can take the breath away. For these walls are home to the names of the fallen. Column after column of name after name rise up from their bronze base, with red poppies adding colour to the solemnity. For every small name represents a life; a son, a brother, a father. A cricket captain, a nervous public speaker, or the lad with that rusty old bike who broke Mrs. Gilby’s window. Every name is so much more than a soldier, sailor or airman, although that final task is what has defined them on these walls.


To me the names have changed over the years. As a small boy they were a massive list and while significant, kept me from looking at tanks and aeroplanes. As I grew older, I would walk by my father’s side while he scanned the columns looking for his units of wars seemingly long past, although as a man I now realise how relative time can be. He would occasionally point and say a name out aloud; Les, Ian, Bruce or ‘Bluey’. He might recall a few words to my mother about being ambushed or ‘clobbered’ by ground fire, but little more. He would then walk along and look for family whose names are etched upon the walls and like his friends, never came home.


Those same names mean even more to me today. For they are no longer a mysterious reference tied loosely to an event he may have discussed at another time. Now I know who these people are and how they entered my father’s world. How he trained, shared a tent and fought alongside these men. And on occasions how he had watched them die. To me there names have bridged the gap from memorial to a living, breathing soul and I now look upon their raised names while my children place their own red poppies. They stand beside me and listen as I explain as best I can who these people were and why their sacrifice is so important to remember. They are no longer just names; they are Grandad’s friends and family.


ANZAC Day was revered in my home growing up. The Dawn Service held a special significance, while around the house faded photographs would appear each year, of young men in uniform with names I still remember. Today their names, like so many others, grace the walls of the Memorial. Fortunately, I now know the stories too, from their farms to the foreign fields in which they now lie. These sons, brothers and fathers must be remembered for the life they forfeited for our tomorrows. They are so much more than names on a wall, they are our heritage.

The years shall not weary them.

Lest We Forget.


Purchase Owen's Books

Recent Posts


student pilot aircraft accident aviation story safer flying flying instructor Pilatus PC-21 how to land an aeroplane WW2 Kim Jong-un writer owen zupp author 9/11 Australian Aviation magazine September 11th aviation jobs speaker Airbus A320 australian aviation aviation warbird solo flight best aviation blog anzac day pilot flying training owen zupp author Airbus A380 writer's block airline aviation careers Jabiru Aircraft Boeing solo flight australia aviation best seller aviation writer ANZAC 50 More Tales of Flight the pilot's blog RAAF PC-21 US Air Medal aircraft flying Sully the Movie Without Precedent podcast cost of flying pilot blog Down to Earth 737 Amazon Kindle Daily Deal how to land an airplane 787 QANTAS A380 popular aviation blog how to become an author 77 Squadron flight school RAF aviation journalist UAV Australian Army airbus aviation author pilot jobs Solo Flight Australia. airshow Vietnam War Sully solo flight. australia planes airliner missing Queenstown Pearl Harbor RAAF learn to fly flight Bush Pilot terrorism aeroplane buying an airplane September 11 jabiru flying blog P-51 Mustang most popular aviation blog Air Medal pilot suicide aeroplane blog flight training Korean War careers in aviation MH370 turning forty airplane The Pilots Blog Hurricane pilot careers comfort zone WW1 Phillip Zupp speaking Ansett Dunkirk Malaysia Airlines aerospace P2902 choosing a flying school aviation blog plane crash aviation speaker Air France 447 50 tales of flight Around Australia flight R-DX landing an airplane aviaton author Battle of Britain airlines aviator The Practical Pilot learning to fly QANTAS Airbus A380 buying an aeroplane flying school pilot training aviation book QANTAS airbus A350 XWB airliner


© Owen Zupp. All rights Reserved.                                             Admin . Privacy . Disclaimer                                            Website by Shot to Pieces . Powered by Blackroom