Graeme's Message, 23 April 2015

Dear Rotarians and Friends

As we prepare for the Centenary of ANZAC Day on Saturday, it is worth reflecting on the words of Paul Harris in 1917 when World War 1 was still raging.

“It is easier to interest men in war than in peace; it therefore requires more moral courage to talk peace than war.”
 - “Rotary Just at the Threshold”, THE ROTARIAN, February 1917

However, we can’t question the courage of the young men and women that have served our nation in various conflicts initiated by power struggles, the mad and the misguided. It is this courage and service we recognise at this time and are reminded of the waste of war.

Most of us have a link with family members who have been involved in various conflicts, and furthermore, for some, those links will be with servicemen who fought against the Allied Forces. With the passage of time and immigration to Australia, the enmity that existed in the past has largely dissipated. This was expressed poignantly by Greg Baum in last Saturday’s “Age”. He wrote about his grandfather ( Vize-Wachmeister Hermann Baum) who served in WW1 for the German Army and received decorations for bravery.

Following the war, Baum qualified as an architect in Germany and developed a successful practice. But in 1935 he was deregistered because he was Jewish. Together with his family, he migrated to Australia where he became a toymaker. Three of his sisters who remained in Germany, disappeared never to be seen again. Eventually he became accepted at ANZAC services and just prior to his death was guest speaker at such a function.

At this week’s meeting we will hear family reflections of World War 1 from an Australian and also from a Turkish perspective, along with the personal experiences of one of our members during World War 2.

Many thanks to our members and families who have shared their thoughts and stories via the Bulletin over the past few weeks.

Lest we forget.