ANZAC stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The men who served in the war are known as Anzacs. They were among the first people into battle at Gallipoli. It was a suicidal mission as the artillery had not yet been launched and the soldiers were ordered in to starve the enemy of bullets. They had assumed that they would be embarking on a front with smooth beaches but was instead met with steep cliffs with jagged edges, and well entrenched enemy contrary to the intelligence they had received.
What is the significance of this event?
I personally do not know anyone lost in the world wars. Irrespective of your opinion on war these men and women sacrificed their lives so that we are able to have our freedoms. Freedoms we all too often take for granted. Right or wrong, these men went to be fodder, to bleed the enemy guns, some of them so young that they were only 16 yet enlisted. This would have been their first time overseas, away from their families. I cannot even begin to imagine the emotions running through them at the time. The Dawn Service recreates the moments when the troops were told to storm the beaches. And in those silent moments in the service, standing shoulder to shoulder amongst many you didn’t know, recreated that feeling in my mind. The only bond you shared with those men in the boats were the single desire to fight for your country, your freedom and your family. And whilst today we heard choirs and gunfire, those men endured hails of bullets and explosions. And yet, they advanced.
“My side, your side and the truth”
There are always more sides to any story: your version, the other person’s version and the truth. Imagine in the Turks that were defending their beaches that day. For them, it was a mark of repelling an invasion – a victory. They too fought to protect their land, their country, their families, their people.
War, in my opinion, can never be justified as there are fatalities on every side. I do not profess to know an answer. As the words that emblazon upon the beaches of Gallipoli from then Turkish leader Ataturk in 1934 states, we can slowly start to realise the unmeasurable cost of war:
“Heroes who 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 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.” – Ataturk 1934 (Mustafa Kemal).
My only ask is that we do not forget the sacrifice of these people have offered so that we can enjoy our freedoms today. For in forgetting, we are liable to repeat our mistakes. Just look at any trend: fashion, music or food.
To all our veterans and servicemen and women – Thank you.
Lest We Forget.