Since 1915, one day in the year has involved the whole of Australia in solemn ceremonies of remembrance, gratitude and national pride. That day is Anzac Day - 25 April.
Why does a nation pause to remember this day? It is because that day, 25 April, 1915, was the day when Australia as a nation faced the supreme test of quality and courage, the landing on the beach at Gallipoli of Australian and New Zealand soldiers.
So the Gallipoli campaign was formulated. On a dark Sunday morning, 25 April, 1915, the soldiers landed in the dark and under heavy fire, climbed steep cliffs covered in prickly scrub and won a foothold on the plateau and ridges. The next eight months saw many feats of courage and bravery on both sides. Apart from the heavy casualties from attack and counter attack, the lines were so close that there was no respite from the heavy bombing, shells and mines.
On the morning of 19 May, 42 000 Turkish soldiers launched an all-out attack against the 17 356 strong Anzac line, in attempt to drive the invaders back into the sea.
The Turks were caught out in the open and lost
Finally on 20 December, 1915, the pressures of other areas of the War, led to the evacuation of the survivors of Gallipoli, an event accomplished without further casualties. 7 600 Australians and nearly 2 500 New Zealanders were mortally wounded at Gallipoli and 24 000 more were wounded. Fewer than 100 were taken prisoner. However, it was not so much that Gallipoli with all its hardships, heroics and suffering was any worse than the other wars that Australians have since taken part in, it was that this was the first real test of our country as a nation. And we did not fail!!!
"Anzac stood and still stands for reckless valour in a good cause, for enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship and endurance that will never own defeat. It has become synonymous with the determination and spirit of our armed forces."
So every year on April 25, we have a day of remembrance where we can express our gratitude to all those men and women then and since, who helped keep our country free from invasion; to acknowledge our debt to these men and women, their wives and husbands, mothers and children and our obligation to those who gave their lives to protect our way of life.
They shall grow not old....as we that are left grow old, "LEST WE FORGET"
"LEST WE FORGET"
In loving memory of my Dad, who courageously survived years of his own particular hell as a P.O.W
in Burma in World War II and who loved and believed in Anzac Day and all it stood for, so much!! And he NEVER forgot!!!!!
Click here for an Anzac page from Turkey.
Information and pictures: "Traditions, Facts, Folklore", Anzac Day Commemoration Committee Queensland.