The ODE or Recitation

In most ceremonies of remembrance there is a reading of an appropriate poem.  The most popular and traditional recitation on ANZAC Day is The Ode, the fourth stanza of the poem “For The Fallen” by Laurence Binyon (1869-1943).  

 

Binyon was assistant keeper of prints and drawings at the British Museum and the author of several volumes of verse.  “For The Fallen” was first published in the Times (London) in 1914 and later in many anthologies of war verse.  It was selected in 1919 to accompany the unveiling of the London Cenotaph and, like so many memorial traditions, it passed into common usage across the Commonwealth.

Its use on ANZAC Day may have originated with the Queensland ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee, which placed it on the cover of a collection of sermons and addresses for ANZAC Day published in 1921.  It was also used at the laying of the Inauguration Stone of the Australian War Memorial in 1929.

The most well-known lines are:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

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