Friday, 30 December 2011

The Holiday lens| A visit to the Military Museum

I'm way behind with my December Daily posts, I know, but I want to interject here with a trip we had today. Want to just get the words down so that I can scrapbook it when I have the time (one day...) We are currently having a little holiday in and around our own City. Yesterday, after visiting the Monkey Sanctuary (hope to write about that soon), I asked my 4 year old if he enjoyed it. The answer was something along the lines of no, boring (he actually did enjoy it, but that's beside the point). I asked him what kind of outing he would enjoy, and the reply was: an army one. So off to the Military museum we went today...

To be honest, I did not have high expectations of the visit. I envisaged a biggish hall filled with a few tanks and other Border memorabalia. Well, was I pleasantly surprised... We walked into a well organised, well kept HUGE museum. There were several halls covering a number of wars South Africa was involved in, including the Aglo Boer war, WWi, WWii, and the War in Angola. It is actually a bit too much to absorb in one visit. They had very interesting themes too, eg. how the uniforms changed over the course of a century. How prisoners of war tried to escape etc.

So many absorbing PHOTO's and STORIES. So many people that cared to document stories and keep stuff! Stories and memorabalia that was really touching. Like the lantern retrieved from the Battle at Delville wood (South Africans fought there too) in the entrance hall. It had the original candle in it that was extinguished during the battle. The quote below the list of fallen Parabats: "When you go home today, tell them about us and say, That for your tomorrow, we gave our today". Graphic poems of injuries and horror. Stories of heroes and bravery. Beautiful wooden guns and planes. Detailed old uniforms. A postcard wishing for and describing Christmas in a time of peace. So many layers to this thing called War.

So grateful that we never experienced war first hand. Grateful to all those who fought for our today. Including my own great grandfather who carved a beautiful little book out of stone while he was a POW in St Helena. And again inspired to record our stories. Especially when I see how much things changed in a mere 100 years, and how easy it can be to forget. Project Life, I'm looking forward!

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