Remembering our Diggers
Anzac Day is a very special day in Australia and New Zealand and seen as a day to remember not only who we are as a nation, but what is so memorable about our countries ties.
There is a long standing relationship between Australia and New Zealand uniting us in war and aligning our goals for peace.
Anzac day is one of Australia’s most important National occasions. It goes beyond the day that commemorates the landing at Gallipoli. It is not just a day to respect our fallen soldiers. It is not merely about loss. It is the day Australians remember those who served, those who were injured and those who died. It is a day to remember who we are as a nation. It is about courage, endurance, duty and love of country. Anzac day is about mateship, the camaraderie where a mate would fight for you, stand by you, live for you and die for you.
Today we remember those who served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.
War Memorials throughout Australia and New Zealand will host massive crowds at Dawn Services remembering one of our darkest battles. As night turns into day, tens of thousands gather, enduring the chill of the early autumn weather and braving the rain, a small sacrifice compared to those at Gallipoli.
The Australian War Memorial in Canberra, the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, King’s Park War Memorial in Perth and the Dawn Service at Mount Clarence in Albany are all places where Australians gather to reflect and give thanks.
Albany plays a big part in Anzac as this is where the first convoy of Australian troops departed and was the last Australian soil seen by tens of thousands of Anzacs as they departed for WW1. 41,000 troops of Australian and New Zealand convoys departed King George Sound, Albany bound for war. The service at Mount Clarence last year was transmitted to Peace Park due to the record crowds for the 100 year anniversary. Today the National Anzac Centre, located at Albany’s Heritage Park offers visitors interactive multimedia displays, visual artefacts and audio commentary, images and film relaying the Anzac story.
The first convoy departed King George Sound 1st November 1914 bound for Europe. After training in Egypt and Middle East, Australian and New Zealand troops landed at dawn on the beaches of Gallipoli, Turkey on 25th April 1915. Our National consciousness of the troop’s courage, bravery and tenacity signifies this as the beginning of the first major battles undertaken by our iconic ANZAC troops.
But today in Australia and New Zealand before the break of dawn, tens of thousands will gather to remember the landing of Gallipoli. Before the break of dawn, by the flicker of candles many gather at War Memorials. As the Last Post rings out in the still of the morning air, heads are bowed for one minute’s silence.
Thoughts go to those young men and women who gave the supreme sacrifice. Their selfless service, commitment to country and their fight for our freedom is today remembered. Despite being over 100 years ago the crowds continue to grow each year for the Dawn Services, parades and ceremonies, paying respect and honouring the ultimate sacrifice made by our diggers.
Anzac Day is a time to honour and reflect upon the service and sacrifice of those past and present who have worn our nation’s military uniforms. We owe their spirit and their qualities to our national identity. We recognize Anzac Day as a National holiday and commemorative services held across the nation commence at dawn, the time of the original Gallipoli landing. Starting with Dawn vigils, followed by parades, memorial services, reunions and two up games, the Anzac Day culture has been passed on for future generations. Every year those attending pay their respects to those who sacrificed their lives for our country and lay flowers and wreaths at the memorials. Tears come to my eyes as I think of those young men, one of them my Grandfather, in battle on distant shores. This ceremony, with all the conflicts on the world today, has as much relevance as the first Anzac Day dawn service.
Today is also a time for baking Australia’s well known biscuit of the year, the Army biscuit, best known as the Anzac biscuit. Baked with love by the Mothers, wives and girlfriends at home, they were sent to be eaten by our diggers in the trenches. They endured a long transit time to get the humble Anzac, shipped in Comfort packs to their sons and husbands on the frontline. The Anzac made from oats, coconut, golden syrup, butter and flour is now an Australian food icon. Their excellent shelf life is no longer important as these hard to resist biscuits are often devoured as soon as they come out of the oven. Today, on this important National occasion, as we enjoy some chewy yet crunchy Anzacs, we remember the courageous Anzac legends.
Lest We Forget
What do you do to commemorate Anzac Day? Have you made Anzac Biscuits?
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