Hey all, this is my first Atlantis fic, so please be nice. I started writing this at 3 in the morning, so if it's a little off, please don't flame me. Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Atlantis characters... wish I did though. I also don't own the poem. That belongs to Laurence Binyon,written in 1914 (I think. That's what the official website says, anyway).
This was written for ANZAC Day, on the 25th of April, in commemoration of the brave Australian and New Zealand soldiers that stormed the beach at Gallipoli, as well as the soldiers that went to war, who gave their lives so that we can live in peace and be free from opression. Also, this is for the veterans who returned after witnessing the horrors of war; those who survived and returned. Lest we forget.
Colonel Sheppard whistled as he made his way down to McKay's lab, intent on poking fun and generally annoying the scientist
Colonel Sheppard whistled as he made his way down to McKay's lab, intent on poking fun and generally annoying the scientist. He had an entire stack of paperwork sitting on the desk of his rarely used office that he really wanted to avoid. The day before, he had tried pushing it onto Lorne, but the Major simply grinned at him and shook his head, making an excuse to get out of it. Well, to be fair, he did have a mission that day, but it was an order from his superior officer, after all. He had a sneaking suspicion that Elizabeth had ordered Lorne not to do John's paperwork for him.
Rounding a corner towards the labs, he almost didn't notice the small Australian soldier running to catch up with him.
"Colonel!" She finally yelled, skidding to a stop before she accidentally barrelled into him. He raised an eyebrow at her.
"Sergeant?" The Australian straightened up and blinked up at him.
"Sorry sir, I was trying to get your attention since you passed the mess hall." John's other eyebrow went up.
"What did you need?" He asked, privately thinking that someone needed to give the small woman yelling lessons.
"Sir, I'm just asking permission to hold a… ceremony. In the 'gate room." Sheppard sighed, running a hand through his hair.
"What kind of ceremony?" He asked, already wanting to say no. He was tempted to tell her to go ask Elizabeth, but as her superior officer, he had to hear her request before he politely shoved it aside.
"Well, it's more of a memorial service. Um… ANZAC day is coming up, and the Aussies and New Zealanders wanted to borrow the 'gate room. Only for about twenty minutes." She clasped her hands to keep herself from fidgeting, and her eyes darted to the side for a moment. Out of the corner of his eye, Sheppard could see at least two scientists and five soldiers, all sporting Australian or New Zealand flags.
"I'm assuming everyone's invited?" He asked casually, stepping aside to let a scientist barrel their way towards the labs sprouting technobabble at the top of their lungs. Just another day at the office, he thought, mouth quirking up into a small grin.
"Yes sir, of course. The service commemorates soldiers who fought in battle and died. It… could also used to remember the people who gave their lives offworld." She shot another glance towards the small group of people who were silently cheering her on. Sheppard carelessly looked around, amused to notice that the support group had grown.
"Go talk to Dr. Weir. She has the last say on anything, especially something like this. But it is a good idea." The Sergeant smiled.
"Thank you sir." She turned and grinned at her support group, who immediately disbanded, scurrying off in different directions. Sheppard watched as the Sergeant caught up with another soldier, slapped him on the back, and headed to the control room. Shaking his head, he kept making his way down to McKay's lab, thinking over the request.
Elizabeth sighed happily as she filed away the last report, and stared around her office. It was rare that she didn't have paperwork to do, especially in the middle of the day. However, she reasoned with herself, it's not like any teams are offworld, and the due date for the last reports was yesterday. She smiled and stood up, intent on going down to the mess hall and getting herself some lunch. As she gathered up her jacket, someone knocked on the door. Elizabeth groaned silently as she turned around, surprised to see a small Australian soldier nervously blocking up her doorway.
"Can I help you?" Elizabeth asked, sitting back down. The soldier gave a small smile and stepped inside her office.
"Dr. Weir, I was wondering if we could have a… memorial. In the 'gate room. It's coming up to ANZAC day, and we usually do a small service. Twenty minutes, tops." Elizabeth sighed.
"Sit down." The soldier obliged.
"What's your name?"
"Sergeant Juliet Rosewall, ma'am."
"Okay, Sergeant, what exactly do you want?" Juliet took a deep breath. She had never been good at asking the higher-ups anything. Usually, back on earth, others had asked on her behalf.
"Okay, the Australian and New Zealand contingent want to hold a service for ANZAC day, which is a commemoration for the soldiers who died in the First World War. It grew to include everything else too. Now it's just a time to remember those who died in battle. Maybe… maybe it could also be used for those who died out here, too." Elizabeth sat back in her seat.
"Have you asked Colonel Sheppard?"
"Yes ma'am, he said it was a good idea, and that I should ask you." She glanced down into the 'gate room, where several people stood together watching her, and gave a small smile. Elizabeth nodded thoughtfully. It was a good idea, seeing as in the early days of the expedition, there was nobody to suggest the idea, nor was there anyone who could pull it off.
"When is the service going to take place?"
"1100 hours, two days from now. So everybody doesn't have to get up for dawn."
"And it finishes at 11:20?" Juliet bit her lip.
"Maybe a little sooner, but definitely not later." Elizabeth nodded.
"Alright. I'll make sure all teams are on base so they can attend." Juliet grinned.
"Thank you so much, ma'am, you won't regret this." The Sergeant stood, saluted, and walked out, talking excitedly with a group, who split up, scattering in different directions.
TWO DAYS LATER
Juliet watched as everyone gathered into the 'gate room, the military forming a horseshoe with the civilians behind them. Everyone was in uniform, attention on the three people in front of the stargate.
"Everyone! I'd like to thank you all for coming. It means a lot to the Australian and New Zealand contingents. What's going to happen, is that we're reading out a poem as well as an extract of the same poem, and when the bugle is played, all military are to salute on my mark, and civilians, bow your heads. This is not going to take long." Juliet glanced up at the Aussie holding the bugle and gave a small smile.
"Thanks." She whispered, watching as all attention was focused on her. She stepped forward and took a deep breath.
"This is an English poem, and since Australia and New Zealand are under the Crown's rule, we are still considered England's children." She paused, bringing out a slip of paper and began to read.
"With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
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.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain." She took another deep breath, watching as they all reflexively bowed their heads.
"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. Lest we forget." Juliet finished and stepped back, nodding to the bugle player on her right.
"Parade, salute!" She ordered, and the military contingent saluted her in unison. She saluted, and the mournful tunes of the bugle started up. After the last tune sounded, he stepped back and waited for the signal.
"Parade, at ease!" Juliet called out, and in unison, the military dropped their hands.
"A two minute silence will now commence for the brave soldiers and scientists of Atlantis who fell defending our right to survival in this galaxy." All bowed their heads, and the only sound was the distant swell of the ocean and the crashing of waves.
Elizabeth stared out over the population of Atlantis from her position in the control room, the senior staff as well as Ronon and Teyla standing with her. As the two minute silence finished, and the Sergeant dismissed everyone, she had to admit, the commemoration of those who had died protecting the city and its inhabitants was a very good, albeit morbid, idea.
Thank you for reading. Please review, I'd like to know what you think of our traditions, and if you're an Aussie or New Zealander and would like to tell me how much I stuffed up, please, tell me. Just don't flame me. Cookies for reviewers!