ANZAC Day

Poppies, a symbol of remembrance

Poppies, a symbol of remembrance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

97 years ago today the ANZAC Corp landed at Gallipoli. It was supposed to be a daring thrust to take Constantinople (Istanbul) but it bogged down almost immediately becoming a slugging match that lasted until 9 January 1916. It was a decisive defeat for the Allies and had many repercussions. Including for the First Sea Lord, Winston Churchill. It was also very important to the Turks in founding the Turkish Republic under Ataturk who was one of the commanders.

It is often said that this campaign marked the beginning of national consciousness for Australia and New Zealand, much as the War of 1812 did for us Americans. It is the main memorial holiday in both countries, surpassing Remembrance Day, much as Memorial Day surpasses Veterans Day for us.

It is also commemorated in England, Canada, the United States, Thailand, India, France, Turkey, and several other countries.

And so we should take a moment today to remember those heroes who have stood with us in Europe (twice), in the Pacific campaign, in Korea, in Vietnam,in the cold war,  in Iraq (twice) and in Afghanistan, and probably elsewhere that I’ve forgotten as well.

Here is what Atatürk himself had to say in 1934.

“Those heroes 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 lying in our bosom
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well.”

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.

 

ANZAC Day service in Portsmouth.

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