Today was a very special day for 5 in our group as we were heading to Vevi where 75 years ago to the day, the Germans attacked the ANZAC position that had the fathers and/or uncles defending the Pass. We left Kalambaka and headed further north towards Florina where we will stay for the next 2 days.
As we climbed up and over another high range we saw the beautiful mountains around us and they are just showing the green new leaves that are pushing through following the winter snow. We then dropped down again to cross the Aliakmon River but not at the end nearer the sea where the Servis Battle was but closer to the source further west.
Arriving into Vevi we were met by the Mayor and the News people from Florina. It seemed that they were to support our Service that we intended to conduct. They did just that! The children from the High School arrived followed shortly after by the children from the Primary School. Many village members started to filter in and then the Regional Director arrived before the Bishop of the whole north arrived as he intended to conduct the Service with us. He is no stranger to our Groups and has always welcomes us each year at his residence.
The Service went very well and wreaths were laid by our four ladies who had their fathers serve there, the Regional Director and then a number of the Primary Students laid Poppies, the Prayer to the Defence Forces of Australia, New Zealand and Greece was given by Charles and Don said the Ode. Bob, our musical director then played the Last Post, Rouse and the 3 National Anthems. When the Greek National Anthem started the children were at first surprised but then sang with much gusto.
A really moving moment for all.
We said our goodbyes and then made our way to the village where our great friend Anna's parents live. Anna has been a close friend to our tour groups over many years and has wanted us to visit their village. We arrived at the Church to be met by the Priest and the village council and then they escorted us into the church hall where they had set up an unbelievable lunch with many local delicacies.
Following lunch they showed us through their village and the other 2 Churches and one was built in the 17th Century. Goodbye again and then we headed out to the Pass to walk the area where the units were located at the time of the Battle all those years ago. Of particular interest was the placement of the 2/1st Anti Tank Regiment guns, the 2/3rd Field Regt guns and the location of the 2/4th Bn. A very emotional exercise for a few.
A long day so we headed home.