ANZAC Day, 25th April, commemorates the landing of Australian and New Zealand soldiers on the shores of Gallipoli in 1915. It is a important day for Australians and New Zelanders where memorial services are held to honour those serving our countries and remember those who gave their lives defending our nations.
The Gallipoli campaign also gave rise to the ANZAC legend and has become part of the Australian and New Zealand culture. It’s also where the term ‘Digger’ was first used in describing Australian and New Zealand soldiers but became more a slang term for Australian soldiers. The term, however has more historical basis, used during colonial times during the gold rush days in Australia and then reused when the soldiers had to dig tunnels in Gallipoli.
At every service, part of a poem For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon dubbed The Ode is read on ANZAC Day. (Source: Army.gov.au)
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
Followed by a poem In Flanders Field by John McCrae (Source: Poetry Foundation)
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The Last Post is then played with a minute’s silence during the interlude.
After two years of no services due to COVID, it was heartening to see thousands of people attend the service and later watch retired service people march through the streets of the major cities and centres throughout Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinnea.
LEST WE FORGET