Poem – It’s Our Turn to Step Forward

Commentary. We can learn much from our nation’s history which records both success and failure. From it we can understand how with much blood, sweat and tears we became the lucky country. It also reveals a harsh environment and isolation which tested even the strongest of hearts, and slowly but surely developed strong bonds of mateship, resilience and not forgetting sharp humour and language different from a staid Mother England. All of this and much more including a unquenchable thirst for freedom, independence and a fair go for all was the very base of what was to become a most fortunate way of life worth fighting for. 

The price of freedom is often masked by cold statistics, and yet can be readily converted to reality by honour rolls as seen on our war memorials, scattered throughout the width and breadth of our continent. They list the names of the fallen associated with the terrible grief and never- ending sorrow of family.

After WW1, a clear message well understood by all was the cry of eternal vigilance, to remind Australians of the need to be prepared to defend our way of life. It would seem from some of our recent intended long range procurements for defence that the battle cry of yesterday is suffering from laryngitis and amnesia. Or is it simply burying our heads in the sand? 

We live in very dangerous times and now more than ever, we need to have national unity and sense of purpose. Both are waning and now there is even a greater threat within, in that our values are being cheapened. Political vison is virtually non-existent and thanks to our apathy, political correctness is beginning to dominate what we can say or do.  Even Christianity, the very foundation of our nation is on the hit list.

It’s Our Turn to Step Forward

A mate, Gary Adams from soldiering days, sent me the above WW2 photo of (B Company, 2/21st Battalion, part of Gull Force) which included his father and notes indicating those who did not come home. The battalion was poorly equipped and surrendered after a battle against overwhelming odds. Many of our troops were executed on the battlefield.

The photo is a sharp reminder of the consequences for a nation ill prepared for war. If we fail to carry the torch, there will be a far different way of life for future generations, and past sacrifices by those before us will have been in vain.

            The Fallen Heroes Still on Parade

A faded photo from long ago quickly steals your breath away,
Soldiers in war with smiling faces, despite the dangers each and every day. Rows of yesterday’s youth who swapped civilian cloth for khaki,
Volunteers ready to give all for future seeds which included you and me 

From all walks of life, be it in city or bush, they were as one,
Under a beloved flag, a sworn oath to serve, until duty done.
What dreams of these warriors standing or kneeling side by side,
Sweet hopes to become reality when duty for war no longer required

Alas, against impossible odds, was a battle that could not be won ,
Many in the in the frame were murdered by the sword, bayonet or gun.
The survivors became tortured slaves of bone and skin,
Year after year, mid brutality, disease and hunger, the ranks grew thin.

Their strength for survival was a powerful bond of hope, faith and unity.
A constant dream of returning to a beloved land, once more to be free
They bore pain, grief, fevers and empty plates for a nation’s safe tomorrow A vow of vows for a treasured way of life for all generations to follow

The Space Age has arrived, complex, busy and forever changing, day by day.
With it came chained tongues with new rules of what you can or cannot say Heavy pockets burdened with permits of what you can or must not do.
Evil chants of “them and us” and growing flaws in our society, more than a few. 

Today, cobwebs gather on history marked with duty, honor, blood and pain,
The faces of heroes stare down from their wooden frame
I swear they are no longer smiling, and a puzzled look can be seen
As our leaders without maps stumble, into tomorrow where no one’s been

If we are not to betray those who gave their all, we must go forward together  
Resolute, standing tall, with purpose and shoulders braced for stormy weather
To honour all those before us with deeds, and sing of our nation without refrain
The spirits of our past will cheer, and the faces on the wall will smile again


George Mansford © November 2019


  1. ALL school students, younger parents of today, young journalists, university students, new permanent immigrants should be subject to this so as, not to be partially and/or totally ignorant to this vital past history, and, to appreciate and be respectful for the sufferings and sacrifices given, allowing everyone today to enjoy/experience our free democratic Australia. Furthermore, perhaps a serious re-introduction of mandatory National Service similar to Israel would be desirable however, the “Political Empire” response would be “Nay” ie., not a “Vote Catcher”!!!!. Worth a try?, Yes/No/Maybe/Look Into????.

  2. Butch & Jan Mathew says

    Too true , The truth from George