Flying flag for peace on Anzac Day
When Kerry Reynolds attended last year’s Remembering and Healing Old Wounds (RaHOW) ceremony in Lismore she was so moved that this year she will play a role in the event on Anzac Day.
Last year she witnessed the handing over of a Japanese flag that had been kept by an Australian soldier to visiting Japanese priest Reverend Shigenobu Watanabe, who promised to return it to its country of origin.
This year she decided to hand over the Japanese flag her father brought back from World War II.
“He brought it back from the war as a memento. That may not have been the right thing to do but things were different then,” Kerry said. “Dad died in 2001 and the flag is one of the few things I have of his. It is very fragile now and, as it gets older, I have thought a lot about the right thing to do with it.
“I was so impressed and moved by the Remembering and Healing Old Wounds service that I made the decision to offer the flag for peace.”
Kerry said the flag was desecrated by the signatures of men who served with her father and she was unsure as to whether it would be seen as an insult.
“I approached RaHOW and they consulted with Reverend Shigenobu Watanabe and as a result the flag has been accepted,” Kerry said. “The flag means a lot to me as it is a connection with my father but it has many other connections as well. Now it has a place, representing peace, forgiveness and reconciliation. Hopefully it will go to Japan to be displayed in a similar institution to the Australian War Memorial. I feel content knowing the flag has a place finally and plays a part in working towards healing old wounds.”
The Remembering and Healing Old Wounds founders have organised two peace ceremonies this year, giving people an opportunity to reflect on the tragedy of all wars and make a public declaration to prevent such sacrifice in the future.
One of the founders, Sabina Baltruweit, said Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell would attend the events and she hoped others would come along and take a moment to show their desire for a peaceful future.
“When we remember war I think it’s important we look ahead and are committed to solving problems differently in the future,” Sabina said. “No-one in their right mind, when they think about the horrors of war, would say we want to continue this way. We have to work towards others ways of solving conflict on every level – individually, nationally and internationally. We have to live our own lives respectfully and demand that politicians also put their efforts to solving global conflicts peacefully.”
The first event is on Anzac Day eve (Saturday, April 24) at 5pm at the Lismore Uniting Church (corner of Keen and Woodlark Streets). This event will include the ceremonial hand over of a Japanese military sword and Kerry’s flag to Reverend Shigenobu Watanabe, followed by a light supper of sushi and Anzac biscuits.
The second ceremony is on Sunday, April 25, 30 minutes after the official program finishes at midday in Lismore’s Peace Park (corner of Ballina Road and Keen Street). The service will include the unveiling of a special plaque alongside a tree that was planted last year in the name of peace. In case of wet weather, the Sunday event will be held in the Lismore City Hall fountain room.
For more information, phone Sabina on 6688 6214.