I just came back from the Death Railway cemetery in Kanchanaburi. It is this beautiful, still place under a tropical sun, filled with young men. They were so young; I look at their ages, 20, 21, 23, and I think they are babies. They haven’t lived yet. And they never will.
To sit in the shade amongst endless headstones is to realise how much living you’ve been lucky enough to do, and that you might be lucky enough to do yet.
I read the headstones of the Australians, some of them inscribed with tributes to King and Country. I wondered what they would have thought of my choices. That I left the beautiful country they fought to preserve, and came here to live in the place where they died. A waste? I like to think that a lot of those young men imagined they were fighting for a way of life as much as a country. That they would have approved of my wholehearted usage of the freedom and the years of life which I have been lucky enough to have.
I sat with them for an hour, and then I went across the road and bought a beer. I cracked that cold longneck and sat and drank, just for a little while, in the presence of those young men. I imagined they would have fancied a beer too.