Offering a free service to descendants where I lay a poppy or card at New Zealand memorials or ancestors' graves during a trip to Gallipoli around Anzac Day 2015.
As I was growing up I would hear tales of battles passed down through the family. Some as recent as my Father's experiences. With a mind full of German 88's and Post offices blowing up in Northern Ireland, it sounded like we had been in every war. (We had). The message was always the same though, they were lucky to come out of it alive.
As I became older I learnt of Gallipoli and of our family connection to that part of the Great War. We had two family members serve at Gallipoli and only one came back. A.U. was killed on the first day of the Chunuk Bair advance. H.U. survived Gallipoli and France. Tragically he was killed by a train 17 days after returning home from the war. A German shell had claimed his hearing and he had come home deaf.
I remember my first year of high school and learning about the history of the Gallipoli campaign and promising myself that I would be there to mark the 100th anniversary. Not only to honour and to pay my respects for my family but for all the ANZACs. 22 years later I am following through on that promise. I am very humbled to be going and was very lucky to win tickets in the ballot. It means a lot to me to be able to follow in my ancestors' footsteps and to be able to lay something at A.U.'s grave.
Then I starting thinking about all those who felt the same way I do and couldn't be there to pay their respects. Then I knew what I had to do. I listed a free service via Trademe. "For those who lost a family member/s at Gallipoli and can't make it this year, I would like to offer my services to lay something at their grave or the NZ memorial for you."
I hope this offer is taken at face value and someone feels the same way as I do? This isn't about me, it's about respecting our fallen and honouring their memory.
Lest we forget.