Autumn Leaves for Remembrance

I was walking though Salamanca Place the other day and noticed the dry and fallen leaves clogging the gutters and blowing along the street. Usually I love autumn leaves and look forward with childlike enthusiasm to kicking them and watching them swirl in the wind. But as I watched them, I was immediately reminded of the Port Arthur massacre. It is today April 28th. I remember very clearly fifteen years ago I was sitting in the kitchen at the farm at Wesley Vale when the television programme was interrupted with a newsflash to say that a massacre had occurred at Port Arthur.I wondered where else in the world there was a Port Arthur since it did not occur to me that this could have happened in our own state. What followed was a terrible period of grief and eventually, healing. The dry oak leaf became the powerful symbol of remembrance and so I too remember today the 35 people who were killed and the 21 who were wounded. I remember also a community shattered by such violence and a beautiful place again besmirched by cruelty and man’s inhumanity to man. I remember too that the nation’s reformed gun laws were a powerful legacy.When the media forgets and the community moves on, every year the state’s mighty oaks gently remind us to remember.

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