The Newcastle ANZAC Memorial Flame will be lit from the ANZAC Torch, one of only 22 in Australia. The Flame will burn from 6pm on Saturday night until 12noon on ANZAC Day. Members of the public are invited to attend and if they wish, lay a tribute in memory of family or friends past.
The flame represents life and maintaining a flame continually alight represents eternal life because a flame has no “body”. Its use symbolises the spirit of those who have died. With a flame’s fluctuation the image of a living thing is maintained, yet because a flame is easily extinguished, it also represents the fragility of life.
This year Aaron Kearney will light the flame in memory of his late grandfather, Jack Kearney. Aaron shared the following thoughts about the ANZAC tradition…
Aaron and Jack KearneyWorld War II was the best and worst thing that ever happened to my late Grandfather and dear friend Jack Kearney.
It was the greatest thing that ever happened to him because it took him from a butcher’s shop in Morpeth to places that were beyond imagination from Papua New Guinea to Japan and across the Middle East.
It also forged friendships that are only possible during wartime. Those friendships and memories were treasured until the day he died just a couple of years ago, well in to his 90s.
Jack Kearney was no fan of war, though.
He could harbour no bitterness for the Japanese, even as they tried to kill him.
He would say to me: ‘I’d see one of their boys, lying there dead and all I could think about was the broken-hearted mother who suckled him at her breast getting the news her boy was gone”.
Jack’s war stories never glorified what happened. In fact, war made him an avowed pacifist, something he passed on to me.
But his stories gave me a great appreciation of those who lived and died in the great theatres of war and the debt we owe them.
I have marched in Sydney in his place and I have been to the Dawn Service at Bomana in PNG at the foot of the Kokoda Track.
Lighting the flame in my home town and the town that Jack so loved, will be one of the great honours of my life.
In my mind will be the war veterans I got to know and who live among us now, but also those who never had the chance to have children and grandchildren and great grand children because of their scarifice.
The flame is truly for them.
PRACTICAL INFO: Lighting of the ANZAC Memorial Flame
DATE: Saturday 23 April 2016
TIME: 6pm – 7pm
LOCATION: Camp Shortland, Newcastle Foreshore
AMMENITIES: Nobbys SLSC and event toilets onsite
PARKING: Horseshoe Beach car park, Nobbys car park No. 2, Wharf Road, On-street, Bolton Street parking station
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Train to Hamilton station and Bus 110 to Newcastle station.