Lest We Forget

Today 25 April is Anzac Day. The day holds a special significance in Australian history and a special place in our family as many of our forebears served. My husband and I took our children to the Gallipoli Peninsula and I am glad we did. But it’s always a delicate one – remembering a loosing bloody conflict with such admiration   – and I continue to worry about getting the balance right between observance and unsavory patriotic messages that bear no real connection to the actual event.

I do love wrapping but I really really do not like young people wrapping themselves cape like in The Australian flag on Anzac Day. Capes are for Batman and Superman and they only just get away with it. No…it is just not the way a flag should be treated and it makes me feel quite distressed. But other forms of ANZAC symbolism I do admire greatly – especially Rosemary.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is an aromatic herb that is related to mint and resembles lavender, with leaves like flat pine needles touched with silver. I can grow it, so it must be hardy but you can also purchase it fresh and refrigerate it in a Ziploc bag for several weeks. Dried rosemary should be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dark, and dry place.

Rosemary is not just for adding flavour to foods. It has many medicianal uses. The flower tops, contain antibacterial and antioxidant rosmarinic acid (that’s one hell of an adjective), plus several essential oils such as cineol, camphene, borneol, bornyl acetate, and α-pinene that are known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties. A little pharmacy on a stalk.

Since ancient times this aromatic herb has also been credited with properties to improve the memory. This goes some way to explaining how rosemary became an emblem of both fidelity and remembrance in literature and folklore. Rosemary certainly has particular significance for Australians as it is found growing wild on the Gallipoli peninsula.

One of the most delightful stories of the use of Rosemary on Anzac Day comes from our Nation’s capital where Community volunteers in Canberra make sprigs of rosemary for the observance.  The ABC reports that last year the volunteers  made around 12,000 sprigs of rosemary to be handed out to veterans and the public at the Anzac Day march at the Australian War Memorial.

The tradition began in 1977 when then Brownies leader Merrill Davis organised her girls to collect, trim and distribute the sprigs.She said the youngest guides are still the ones responsible for handing out the rosemary – which is  is free to the public and the veterans.The sprigs are designed to be tucked in behind medals or badges.

My wrap today is a Rosemary wrap where it is all about the rosemary. I have tied three rosemary sprigs together with a lovely ribbon and placed it atop a gift wrapped in eco paper. A grevillia flower next to the gift is a little nod to the Aussie feel.

Lest We Forget.