Today 25th of April 2017 is a day of remembrance . It marks the anniversary of the 1st major military action fought by Australians and New Zealanders.
Today is a day of reflection. To remember those that gave their life so we could live ours.
Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
On the 25th April the Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli. This was a bloody campaign with both sides,the Anzacs and the Ottoman Turkish Defenders with heavy casualties. This lasted for 8 months. Over 8,000 Australians died in this campaign and many more wounded. They went through severe hardship in those 8 months. Even though this failed its “military objectives” April 25 and Gallipoli became the day that Australians remember the sacrifice these men gave their country.
In 1916 on the 25th April, the first Anzac Day commemorations were held around Australia.
Today also we remember those who served and lost their lives in the Second World War. Services are held around the nation at Dawn, the time of the first landing. Later on in the morning there are marches in all major cities and country towns. This is where former servicemen and women meet up. Many thousands of people watch and wave flags as they all march by. It’s a time when we as Australians come together as one.
Services are held also at Gallipoli and many thousands of Australians make the pilgrimage to be there for this very moving service. There is also a service at Villers Bretonneux to remember the fallen of the 1918 Battle to recapture Villers-Bretenneux.
On Anzac Day and also Remembrance Day – November 11th, we wear poppies. November 11th 1918 is Armistice Day, the end of the first World War. The red poppy is the first flowers to grow on soldiers graves in Flanders. We also wear Rosemary as this signifies remembrance and it is found growing wild on the Gallipoli peninsula.
These are 2 poems that are always read on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.
In Flanders fields
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.
John McCrae (1872–1918)
For the fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
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.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Laurence Binyon (1869–1943)
Our Dad George Donald Adams served in the Second World War. He was in the 2/11 AIF. He was stationed in Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia. From our dads notes:
“Early March 1943 I was sent with our battalion the 2/11 to the 51 Mile Peg out of Darwin. We had taken over that post vacated by the 2/2 Pioneers. The Japs were bombing day and night. On some manoeuvres we had up to 40 Jap bombers and fighters passing up to 30,000 feet above. ”
Dad had met mum when he was in hospital with rheumatic fever, this was before he even went up to Darwin. They were married on the 20 June 1942. Muriel was born in 1943. Dad finally came home when Muriel was 6 months old.
Lest we forget.