Musing On ANZAC Day and Black Tea

ANZAC Day 2020 we came together, like other years, to remember the Australians and New Zealanders who served and died during the Gallipoli campaign, WWI, WWII, all other wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations, past and present.  We remember their great courage and willingness to leave home and country to fight for freedom, the great cost and grief for our nations, and how their sacrifice won the freedom we have today.  

ANZAC Day 2020: we came together, like other years, to remember the Australians and New Zealanders, who served and died during the Gallipoli campaign, WWI, WWII, all other wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations, past and present.  We remember 

their great courage and willingness 

to leave home and country 

to fight for freedom

the great cost and grief for our nations, 

and how their sacrifice won the freedom we have today. 

It is humbling and I am so grateful for those who have served, died for our countries and those who are currently serving in whatever capacity today.

This morning I woke, rubbed my eyes, got up and dressed, grabbing my big, fat, white candle and phone, and set off to the end of my driveway, my heart full, to commemorate this special day of remembrance in a way that I have never done before.

With our world in self-isolation in a way I’ve not seen in my lifetime, we are not able to gather in large groups of any form. This year families, couples, individuals in my street, in my city and across Australia and New Zealand, all came out to the end of our driveways to stand united in spirit, with poppies, wreaths, flickering candlelight, standing separate but united as we took time to remember and honour the ANZACs and all those who have and are serving and sacrificing for our nations. It was moving and emotional.

We streamed a commemorative service of sorts – mine included an Acknowledgement of Country, The Ode, The Last Post, a minute of silence, Reveille and the National Anthems.  It was not the same as gathering in a crowd for a dawn service, yet it was profound in it’s difference, in seeing that no matter what we face, we can stand united to commemorate the spirit of our nations, those who have sacrificed and given all, and those who are currently serving.  I am grateful and feel blessed to honour them.

After the service, I went for a bike ride and enjoyed seeing the beautiful poppies and wreaths out in driveways and in front of homes –  it was very touching. Returning home to make ANZAC biscuits and steep myself a cup of tea, I remembered my grandad and how he served in the war, how the war affected him, how I loved and miss him and how he loved a good cup of black tea!

It got me thinking about what they drank during WWI & WWII.  After a little googling, I found that a mug of tea tended to be served with tinned meat (often corned beef), hard biscuits and jam.  They probably needed the tea to help soften those biscuits! Interestingly, the British troops were supplied with tea and carried tea in their canteens instead of water.  I also discovered that the British army bought up all of the black tea on the European market at the time, to keep their troops well supplied in tea.  Black tea was thought to be a morale booster, as it brought comfort, reminded men of home, it was easy to make and created times of bonding over a cuppa. Additionally, it was thought to be invigorating and stimulating.

So fascinating! I love how tea weaves its thread and connects us across the generations and throughout history to those who have gone before, to soldiers in Gallipoli, my grandad serving in the war and in his lounge room, to me today drinking the Let’s Steep Tea Classic, a loose leaf black tea of depth, which is invigorating, stimulating and full of flavour, an absolutely perfect pairing with the good old ANZAC biscuit.

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