Remembering the ANZAC's

Every year on April 25 two things happen all over Australia and New Zealand. As the light of day arrives, a Dawn Service is held at War Memorials to remember the moment of "stand-to" - when the soldiers were awoken from whatever slumber they could get into and make their stances ready, alert and to mann their weapons. It's in these quiet, peaceful moments of silence that veterans [soldiers who returned from the battlefield] and the family of those who were lost remember them...

Originally, only veterans were allowed to attend the dawn service, to commemorate the timing with the original landing on the shores of the Gallipoli peninsula, while family members attended the daytime ceremony to remember their fallen loved ones. The days have changed, and now we are all encouraged to partake in either or both services.

Why is this day special to Australian's? From the Australian War Memorial website, is the following...
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.
  • Australian War Memorial

  • For my family, we didn't lose anyone to either of the World Wars. My grandpa on my mothers side was in the Army but never saw a battle or went to the field. Both of my grandparents on my fathers side were in the Second world war. My Nanna as a field nurse and my grandpa as a pilot. Of their 4 sons that they had, only one ever saw a war - the eldest, Peter - when he served in the Vietnam war. He is a veteran now, and still struggles with the things he saw. Peter's brother, Neil, was in the Army for about 20 years, but never saw a battle. My father, Clive, and my other uncle, Kym, as far as I know, never joined the military. My brother, Troy, was a cadet for a long time but left early when he decided to attend University.

    I don't just love ANZAC day because it means something to my family. I love ANZAC day because it was like a right of passage for the Australian and New Zealand countries. We made our mark in the world for being withstanding, for the comraderie [bond] that the troops had to each other - to battle on, for the good of our country, knowing that to lose their life was in effort to help generations. Mates were lost. Family were lost. Foreigners lost their mates and family, too. We showed them that we can survive. Its also a day when we can reflect on the different meanings of war.

    So what will you be doing on ANZAC day, April 25th?

    Will you think of those who died... who didn't deserve to die?

    Will it make you think of Jesus - who also loves you - who also didn't deserve to die?

    Will you remember? Lest we forget...

    Happy [is that the right word?]... Blessed ANZAC Day.