An Invitation to Write……

Written by AHQ

27 August 2015

We publish a blog post for Aussie Hero Quilts every Monday to Friday night.  I write most of the posts and Caroline helps by writing the Happy Mail posts on Wednesdays and usually the Block of the Month although this month Naomi is helping out with that.

I usually stick to a formula each week which makes life easier.  

On Tuesday I publish the Gratitude Post which includes all the edited thank you messages we receive from the troops.  

On Wednesday nights we publish the Happy Mail posts. These include pictures of all the blocks, quilt tops, laundry bags or finished quilts that are sent to us.  I am afraid that I just can’t keep up with sending thank you messages to everyone who sends stuff in so this is my way of saying Thank you in the most time efficient manner. I hope you all don’t mind.  Helen helps us out with this post too by collecting all the mail from Caroline’s PO box, photographing it and emailing the photos to Caroline and I.  That might seem just a little thing but it is a big help.

On Friday nights I publish the Weekly Dispatches post and this is when you get to see all the lovely quilts and laundry bags that have been sent off all over the place.  On days like today, when I am leaving home at 6am tomorrow morning to go to the airport to head to Brisbane the post has to be written tonight.  That is why it is wise to get your photos of your completed quilts in to me as soon as you can.  Anything emailed to me on a Friday may not make it on the blog till the next week.

So what do I write on Mondays and Thursdays?  All sorts of things. Those will be the days that I pass on information (like tonight) or share information about my trip to Brisbane etc.  Maybe I have a special story to tell or someone else has written a post, like Carole’s recent lovely story about her ANZAC holiday.

This is where you come in….. I hope.

We would love to hear some of your stories.

A couple of years ago I asked people to share their memories of ANZAC Day.  Little did I know what I was going to receive.  Have a look here and you will see what I mean.

For example this one made me catch my breath and I still cannot read it without getting sand in my eyes….

Before I met my DH (dear husband for quilters) ANZAC Day used to mainly be a day of shame for me. Why? Because my German-born grandfather, fought for the Germans in World War 1. As a child and later as an adult I never felt that I should attend an ANZAC Day service because my dear beloved grandfather, fought for the enemy. Then on May 19, 1990 I met Barry, my dear beloved husband, a Vietnam Veteran and my whole world changed. One of the first things Barry ever said to me was “I’m a Vietnam Veteran” and I in my naivety thought “So?” not because of any disrespect but out of ignorance as to exactly what that meant in terms of how it affected my DH and how this would change my life. Just to put things in perspective I am 13 years younger than my husband and I was just 6 when he went to Vietnam at the age of 19.

From memory the first ANZAC Day march that I attended was in Mt Isa in 1991 and I have attended ANZAC Day services ever since. Since my husband became Sub Branch President seven years ago (and to this day) of Caloundra RSL Sub Branch (Queensland), the day has meant attending services with him and helping with the Women’s Auxiliary (we help out at the breakfast at the RSL after the Dawn Service and then at the 11am service) and running around madly handing out thousands of Australian flags to the public at the morning service for the Sub Branch, along with a few friends, also wives of ex-servicemen, who also hand out the flags.

Now I stand tall next to my husband and remember his service and that of his mates, both living and passed on, who gave their lives for our wonderful country. I remember too my dear beloved grandfather, a highly decorated German soldier, who passed on and who my DH had the pleasure to meet, thankfully and maybe next year I will march in his honour, as apparently I am now allowed to. Grandfather did become a naturalised Aussie when he emigrated to Australia in the early 20s after becoming disillusioned with the direction that Germany was heading in. I also remember my three great uncles on my paternal grandmother’s side (three Schache brothers who were persecuted for having a German surname but being Australian borndespite serving in the Australian Defence Service. Two served in the Australian Navy,  but who served on the HMAS Sydney, and HMAS Hobart and one great uncle Schache who served in the Australian Army on the Kokoda Track, all of whom I did not find out about until recent years.

Part of ANZAC Day and the weeks leading up to it, is being mindful of the rising anxiety that my dear husband suffers, due to his PTSD  (from Vietnam). Vietnam Veterans’ Day and Remembrance Day trigger similar responses. During these weeks too I help out selling ANZAC Day badges as part of the RSL Women’s Auxiliary, for our Sub Branch, and I have often very interesting conversations with ex-Diggers and also family members of those who have served.  We live in the most wonderful country on earth and so I thank those who are currently serving our country and those who have served.

Bern , proud wife of a Vietnam Veteran

Lots of you have stories your family members have told you about their service and their war-time experiences.  It would be wonderful if you would consider sharing them on the blog.     You can do so anonymously if you wish, or not, your choice.

The Aussie Heroes Blog is a good place to share, and perhaps more importantly, record those stories as the blog is being archived in perpetuity by the Australian War Memorial.  

The Australian War Memorial Research Centre is creating a comprehensive collection of publications relating to the Australian experience of war to assist all Australians to remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact on Australian society both now and in the future.  

They felt our blog was worthy of inclusion.  What an honour.

I would consider it an honour if you started to share your stories of your family’s military history and background and allowed them to be shared by all and recorded for the future.

So maybe you don’t have a family story.  Do you like Military History?  I know we have military history buffs out there and I also know we have military history fans. How about sharing that passion with us on Aussie Heroes. 

I would love to do some articles on subjects such as some of the historic battles that Australian servicemen and women have fought in and I know that lots of people would love to read them.  

I would love to know more about the Vietnam War…. I just don’t have the time to do the research but I know there are some of you out there who would be able to write about it easily.  Your contribution would be appreciated.

Finally I am going to try and get some of our serving members to write about what they do! Someone asked me the other day what does an engineer do. Great question but not an easy one to answer as “engineer”  means different things in each service.  What does a Navy chaplain do at sea?  What does a cavalryman do??  No, he does not ride a horse. What does a peacekeeper do?  So many interesting jobs in the military that so many of you have not heard of or have not been able to ask questions about.

So, standby to hear from some of our serving members …. assuming I can cajole them into writing for me.

I hope this has encouraged some of you to think of contributing.   If you are interested please PM me or email me (fr**********@gm***.com).  I hope to hear from YOU!

Till next time…………………..keep spreading the word and happy stitching!
Jan-Maree xx

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  1. Jacqui D

    I would be very interested to hear any stories….go for it!


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