ANZAC DAY (warning: long post)
Today is ANZAC Day in Australia. It is a really important day of Remembrance for us - commemorating the Gallipoli landing of 1915. Here is some info about it from the Australian War Memorial site: (warning: longish - you may wish to scroll down past it to the pics - which are worth seeing)
ANZAC Day has special meaning for me as my Dad was a POW in WWII and even though he has not marched in years (he is nearly 93) it is really important to him and thus to me. The fact that my Dad was in Changi prison in Singapore for his whole war (three and a half years) has had a significant effect on our family life. Not in a bad way - my Dad just came home and got on with life as he was ordered to do but it has always been an important fact in our lives. The fact that my Dad went to war to protect his country and way of life, was imprisoned under horrific conditions for many years and then was able to come home to build a new life for himself, marry and give his three daughters a wonderful life is such an affirmation of his strength as a person. It makes me so proud and that is why I cry every ANZAC Day.
What is ANZAC Day?
ANZAC Day – 25 April – is probably Australia's most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
What does ANZAC stand for?
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as ANZACs, and the pride they took in that name endures to this day.
When war broke out in 1914, Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only 13 years. The new national government was eager to establish its reputation among the nations of the world. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany.
The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated, after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers had been killed. News of the landing on Gallipoli had made a profound impact on Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in the war.
Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australian and New Zealand actions during the campaign left us all a powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as the “ANZAC legend” became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the ways they viewed both their past and their future.
The 25th of April was officially named ANZAC Day in 1916. It was marked by a wide variety of ceremonies and services in Australia, a march through London, and a sports day in the Australian camp in Egypt. In London over 2,000 Australian and New Zealand troops marched through the streets. A London newspaper headline dubbed them “the knights of Gallipoli”. Marches were held all over Australia; in the Sydney march, convoys of cars carried wounded soldiers from Gallipoli attended by nurses. For the remaining years of the war, ANZAC Day was used as an occasion for patriotic rallies and recruiting campaigns, and parades of serving members of the AIF were held in most cities.
During the 1920s ANZAC Day became established as a national day of commemoration for the 60,000 Australians who had died during the war. In 1927, for the first time every state observed some form of public holiday on ANZAC Day. By the mid-1930s, all the rituals we now associate with the day – dawn vigils, marches, memorial services, reunions, two-up games – were firmly established as part of ANZAC Day culture.
With the coming of the Second World War, ANZAC Day also served to commemorate the lives of Australians who died in that war. In subsequent years the meaning of the day has been further broadened to include Australians killed in all the military operations in which Australia has been involved.
ANZAC Day was first commemorated at the Memorial in 1942. There were government orders prohibiting large public gatherings in case of a Japanese air attack, so it was a small occasion, with neither a march nor a memorial service. Since then, ANZAC Day has been commemorated at the Memorial every year.
|THIS IS WHERE THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN TOOK PLACE , THE FIRST LANDING WAS ON APRIL 25TH, 1915|
|THERE IS ALWAYS A DAWN SERVICE AT THE SHRINE OF REMEMBRANCE|
|MELBOURNE'S SHRINE OF REMEMBRANCE IS A BEAUTIFUL, CLASSICAL BUILDING|
|A FLAME BURNS ETERNALLY IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE SACRIFICE OF OUR SOLDIERS|
|WREATHS AND FLOWERS ARE TRADITIONALLY PLACED AT MEMORIALS ALL AROUND THE COUNTRY (NEARLY EVERY COUNTRY TOWN HAS SOME SORT OF WAR MEMORIAL OR AVENUE OF HONOUR)|
|THE LAST POST IS ALWAYS PLAYED AND IT ALWAYS GIVES ME GOOSEBUMPS AND MAKES ME CRY|
|LEST WE FORGET|