Monday, July 9, 2012

The Importance of A Single Year

Sometimes a single year can prove a decisive turning point in a life.

1967 seemed to be that pivotal time in Lyndon Shea's life. 

Military man, public servant, activist and poet, Lyndon Shea was buried today after battling with cancer. His funeral was truly a celebration of a life richly lived and obviously loved by those attending his standing room only service.

Prior to 1967 Lyndon had been the sixties poster boy of young, conservative, male Australia.  School captain of one of Australia's most prestigious private schools, ruggedly handsome Lyndon was a  star footballer and athlete with a sharp, incisive mind. 

In 1966 Lyndon was selected to enter the Royal Military College Duntroon, Australia's equivalent of the American West Point.

Like his classmates, Lyndon's Duntroon time was marked by incessant, mindless bullying.  Officially it was designed to prepare him for the role of a junior Army leader in the Vietnam War and beyond. In reality it was profoundly dehumanizing experience that gave no credit to the individual or the institution.

By the end of his first year, whether he quit  or for some other reason, Lyndon moved on.  From that point onwards he was no longer fighting for the system but rather fighting the system over the range of its contemporary injustices.

Throughout his life Lyndon campaigned for Indigenous rights, education reform, the womens' movement, gay rights, the environment and other issues long before they became fashionable. In doing so Lyndon often put himself on the margins working for the marginalized.  

Today his funeral was marked by tributes from people from all walks of life.  Each noted his commitment, strength and single minded determination to shape a fairer community. 

Over the past 100 years the Royal Military College Duntroon has had many luminaries.  However it would be hard to find many like Lyndon who displayed the qualities of fairness, commitment and a fair go the rest of us aspire to.

Vale Lyndon Shea...  mission accomplished and superbly well done.


Peter Habel said...

Thank you for that, Bob.

Anonymous said...

A thoughtful reflection of the life of a guy who I knew many years ago. Thank you Bob and Barbara, and Alex GE and Richard Carfax-Foster for representing the rest of us from the Duntroon entry class of 1967 on this occasion today.

Eric Tazelaar said...

Bob, moving words to a fine man. Thankyou. Eric

Lyn McLeavy said...

Hello Bob - I only learned of Lyndon's passing today as I have been overseas. Your "Importance of a Single Year" was masterful and Lyndon would have loved it! Thank you, it has helped me today.

phlebotomist said...
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