Not long now.
This time next week, the truck will be loaded with our precious poppies and ready to go. The advance team will be in Canberra from 24 September for groundworks and then on Saturday 29 September at 9.00 a.m. the planting will begin.
It’s exciting and hellishly scary all at once.
But we are more than ready, and have been working towards this point for five and a half years. It will be wonderful to see the field, as I envisioned it so long ago … albeit a little bigger … ok a lot bigger, but a beautiful field, where our visitors can sit and reflect on the contribution that those 62,000 brave souls made alongside their colleagues and those that came after, the impact on their families and communities where a significant proportion of a generation of our young men were lost, as they struggled to rebuild in the aftermath, and the impact on our Nation as a whole.
It must be Sunday morning as I write this … my personal time for reflection.
So … back to the present.
Again, I say, what we are doing is magnificent … thousands of loving hands … thousands of stories, thousands and thousands of remembrances.
During the week, Kate and I went up to Canberra for the installation a couple of “teaser” tributes. We didn’t (and, of course, couldn’t) do it alone and were happy to work alongside our very own Canberra star Ledy Rowe and a team from the AWM. It was fun and exhausting at the same time, and a very good test for the hamstrings.
At Floriade, we installed “Honour Their Spirit” alongside a smattering of some 2000 stems opposite the stage area … beautiful, poignant and a small taste of things to come. By now many of you will have seen this installation as you wander the grounds of Floriade.
At the airport, there are two beautiful installations – the first in the International Arrivals area featuring our beautiful poppies was created by Hazel Davies of CIT Floristry and is reminiscent of the incredibly poignant Honour wall at the AWM.
The second is in the domestic arrivals hall and features 27 beautiful wreaths hanging in those massive windows in honour of the fallen. The wreaths are sized from 20cm to nearly one metre across. Simply beautiful.
These beautiful installations are a snippet of things to come in Canberra over the next couple of months. To say we are excited as our collective work comes to life is a little bit of an understatement.
13 days, 52 minutes and 40 seconds.
As our Phillip would say … Game On!