Sunday, 8 November 2009

Rosemary for Remembrance.

Rosemary, an ancient symbol of remembrance, the rich oil and perfume derived from the plant have been used for centuries. The ancients believed it strengthened the memory, and on this account it became an emblem of fidelity and a symbol of remembrance.

Rosemary has particular significance for Australians as it can be found growing on the wild slopes of Gallipoli. It has been associated with the ANZAC tradition of being loyal to one's mates and active in honouring the memory of fallen and departed comrades. Sprigs of Rosemary are worn on ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day, by veterans and others attending services and parades in Australia.

Pick a sprig of rosemary and hold it tightly between your fingers, as its leaves release their strong fragrance think of the 35 million servicemen who died in Wars and Military conflict in the Twentieth Century alone and then of the nearer 150 million civilians who died as a result of democide and genocide in the context of these conflicts. Currently 4,677 and 1513 Servicemen and women have died in the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan respectively, with potentially 100,000s of civilian losing their lives as a consequence of the lawlessness and social breakdown.

As you go through this space and see the faces of just a few of those lost remember that these individuals were fathers, sons, husbands,friends, neighbours, colleagues, lovers, partners. They were somebody - and they died fighting a war they were told was just.

Smell the essential oil warming within your palm and think that each one of those lost had dreams and thoughts and feelings - unique fingerprints, shoes worn to the imprint of their soles, treasured creased letters and photos - grubby from repeated readings slipped in their jacket pockets.

"Remember me when I am gone" Do you believe that God knew each one of them and does not forget them?

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