On the 75th Anniversary of Victory in the Pacific … I honour my dad … Wal Beasley (Alfred James Walter) who was not only a wonderful father, but a truly beautiful human being.
I talk about Wal and Marg’s dad Stan Knight, when I am asked to explain to people about our reasons behind this amazing project … and why Margie and I were so keen to honour our dads in this way.
This is an excerpt from my talk …
For Marg and I, this project is about our dads.
They both fought in World War II as was their duty at the time, my dad in the Pacific and Marg’s dad in Europe. We were incredibly lucky that they returned home, intact, to marry, raise families and lead productive lives.
And like many soldiers of the day, they didn’t share their war history with their children. I suspect perhaps they thought that it was more important to put it behind them and get on with the job.
And so, 5000 Poppies started as a very small personal tribute to craft and plant 120 poppies at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne in honour of our fathers in 2013.
Little did we know then, that it would blossom into a nationwide and indeed international outpouring of respect and remembrance involving many thousands of contributors, and culminating in a series of truly spectacular tribute installations around the world over a number of years.
I expect that there are many of us who will today be thinking about our fathers, mothers, brothers, uncles, cousins and other loved ones who fought WWII on our doorstep, many of whom did not return, or returned forever changed … you have our heartfelt gratitude for your service and sacrifice … LEST WE FORGET
Wal Beasley, 14/32nd Battalion AIF and Stan Knight, Queens Own West Kent Regiment