Classified as: reflective journal, politics
I had forgotten that Gough Whitlam's memorial service was on today until I was on the tram around 10.30 and started looking at twitter. The tributes started coming through and to my surprise I found tears in my eyes. Gough - and Margaret - Whitlam meant so much to my generation. I can't say it all again, it's been said many times now, but still - it's the generous heart that counts.
The Guardian had a good coverage here. Some excerpts:
Graham Freudenberg, Whitlam's speech writer ... "recalls Whitlam touching his shoulder before he gave an important speech.
'It’s been a long road, comrade, but I think we’re there. He knew how much the words and the touch would mean to me at such a moment.You would go to the barricades with such a man. The Whitlam touch is on us all. He touches us in our day-to-day lives, in the way we think about Australia, in the way we see the world. He touches, still, the millions who share his vision for a more equal Australia, a more independent, inclusive, generous and tolerant Australia, a nation confident of its future in our region and the world.'
In Melbourne ... [Melissa Davey reporting]
Annie McCrory used to hold fundraisers for the Labor party in Cairns in the 70s.
Watching Gough Whitlam’s memorial service at Melbourne’s Federation Square, she shares her memories of him.
“He used to come with Margaret to our fundraising barbecues and they were a happy, lovely couple.
“She used to make jokes about him all the time, and he always laughed the loudest.
“They were wonderful people who had time for everyone. I have photos of them on my wall still.”
Sitting next to McCrory is Gillian McLeod, who says the election of Whitlam was a “breath of fresh air”.
“Australia had been waiting a long time for someone like him,” she said.
“A very long time.”
Auntie Millie Ingram ...the welcome to country on behalf of the Gadigal people:
'The impact that the Whitlam government had on our people was enormous and can’t be underestimated. ..
Mr Whitlam, you were a brave and inspired man and we loved you and you will live on in our memories.'
'We salute this old man for his great love and dedication to his country and to the Australian people. When he breathed, he truly was Australia’s greatest white elder and friend without peer of the original Australians.' "
The video of Noel Pearson's speech http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/video/2014/nov/05/noel-pearson-gough-whitlam-memorial-speech-video
RIP Gough, legend.