Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Lest we Forget

ANZAC's  - Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

On April 25th each year we set aside this day in remembrance of our ANZACS who fought and died so we could live in freedom.  We also remember our troops who are overseas deployed on peace-keeping assignments, you are in our prayers.
'The Last Post' is played at every ANZAC Day memorial service.
It marks the day of the dawn landing of the beaches of Gallipoli.  The objective was to capture Constantinople which is now known as Istanbul in Turkey which, at the time was under Ottoman rule and an ally of Germany in the First World War.  Many men were slain on those beaches at dawn that day but for the ones that made it past the beaches the war in Gallipoli raged on for another 8 months leading to many more deaths and injuries. My husband and I both had relatives who fought and some died during those battles.

In Australia there is a surge from the media to spread discontent through our nation that we shouldn't celebrate ANZAC day because it is upsetting to people from other countries who choose to come and live here.  I don't agree with this.  Immigrants 'choose' to live in Australia and most adopt the Australian way of life while they live here. Many were Australian citizens at the time of the war and fought along side the Australian and New Zealand men as one.  I doubt this discontent is raised in other countries where ANZAC services are conducted we are at peace with our neighbours and largely with most countries, certainly most of those involved in WW1.

Dawn ANZAC Service in Doha overlooking the city and the Persian Gulf
Last year I was at the ANZAC service in Qatar, which was also under the Ottoman rule at the time of World War I and the Turkish ambassador gave a very moving speech about the connection between the Turkish people and the Australian and New Zealand people.

I think it can be best summed up in the words of Ataturk who was a military officer during WWI and later went on to become the first president of Turkey and bought his country to independence.

Those heros that shed their blood
and lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
here in this country of ours.
You the mothers
who sent their sons from far away countries
wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now living in our bosom
and are in peace.
Having lost their lives on this land they have
become our sons as well.

Mustafa Kemel Ataturk - 1934

Slouch hat worn by Australian troops laying in a field of flanders poppies which grew wild in the battle fields and trenches of the war zone.  

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.

Chez

2 comments:

  1. The Media over here has gone stupid, it is just plain disrespectful to NOT celebrate/remember ANZAC day. Personally I think if some Immigrants are offended by this day they dont have to be part of it but leave it alone for the rest of us who are proud of the past and present men and women in our Armed Services =)

    ReplyDelete
  2. We have our Memorial Day at the end of May.

    I'm not aware of the kind of discontent you mention being here in the US. Certainly there are people who prefer not to celebrate those that fought in wars... but Memorial Day has become much more about camping and pic-nicing and less about war memorials.

    Of course we also have Patriot's Day (last week), Independence Day (July) and Veteran's Day (November).

    ReplyDelete

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