This morning I awoke with the name Emma.
However for the rest of the day I was 25year old Patrick Francis from Geelong Victoria who fought in the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917.
Dressed in full platoon gear, I made the same trek as the 40th battalion of Australian soldiers from Tasmania made 96 years ago.
It was tough! So much more exhausting and draining than I had ever expected!
Heavy. Tired. Cold. Aching. Bruised.
Honestly, I was about to start complaining, but then I saw a sea of white.
22,000 allied solders headstones filling the Tyne Cot cemetery.
As we approached the cemetery the physical exhaustion moved to an emotional pain.
Everyday, every single day, the soldiers wore what I was wearing.
Lived in the odorous stench of the mud and bitter cold. Carrying heavy packs. Every single day.
And look at the outcome. The sea of white.
Patrick Francis was a solider who lived.
I was filled with pride.
I picked up my rifle, lifted my feet (as heavy as lead) and walked on with the courage, spirit and life of Patrick.
He was an Australian.
I am an Australian.
He wasn’t one of the sea of white, but so many were.
The sea of white, several hours later while I am writing this post, is an image I can’t take from my mind.
This experience had given me an appreciation and admiration for all men at war I can’t describe.
Emotionally, physically and psychologically draining experience.
That sea of white will never leave me.
It is my duty as a student, our duty to learn and pass on the knowledge.
No more seas of white.
Lest we forget.