Thursday, April 23, 2015

25th April - ANZAC Day

There can be a lot of friendly rivalry between Australia and New Zealand ESPECIALLY if there is sports or pavlova involved.

But we also know when it comes to the crunch, like a natural disaster, our 'cousins across the ditch' come running to stand united and strong beside each other.

This Saturday, 25th April, marks 100 years since Australia and New Zealand stood united and strong beside each war.

The ANZAC's.  The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

"On 25 April 1915, eight months into the First World War, Allied soldiers landed on the shores of the Gallipoli peninsula. 

This was Turkish territory that formed part of Germany's ally, the Ottoman Empire. The troops were there as part of a plan to open the Dardanelles Strait to the Allied fleets, allowing them to threaten the Ottoman capital Constantinople (now Istanbul) and, it was hoped, force a Turkish surrender. 

The Allied forces encountered unexpectedly strong resistance from the Turks, and both sides suffered enormous loss of life.

The forces from New Zealand and Australia, fighting as part of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), played an important part in the Gallipoli campaign. At its beginning, people at home greeted with excitement the news that our soldiers were at last fully engaged in the war. 

New Zealand soldiers distinguished themselves with their courage and skill, establishing an enduring bond with the Australians they fought alongside.

The Gallipoli campaign was, however, a costly failure for the Allies, who after nine months abandoned it and evacuated their surviving troops. Approximately a fifth of the New Zealanders taking part had been killed; the communities they came from had counted the cost in the lengthy casualty lists that appeared in their newspapers. And the sacrifice seemed to have been in vain, for the under-resourced and poorly-conducted campaign did not have any significant influence on the outcome of the war."

260 - days of the Gallipoli Campaign
14,000 - NZ forces landed: 
4852 NZ forces wounded,  
2779 NZ forces fatalities
8709 - Australian forces fatalities 

Its with mixed emotions that I head into this ANZAC Day, teaching my son what ANZAC Day is all about.  How do you explain that to an innocent 8 year old?  I'm so proud to think of the ANZAC men who stood shoulder to shoulder in circumstances I can not even begin to fathom.  Yet so sad at the loss of those young men, who had barely begun to live.  

I think of the men and women in WW2 who did the same, my Grandad being one of them.

I think of the men and women who serve in our military today, their sacrifice, their families sacrifice, it makes me so proud and so humble.

These men served, many of them fell, so that we can enjoy the freedom that we have today.  Let's not take it for granted.  Let's remember what they did, let's remember what they endured, let's remember their sacrifice, let's remember that it wasn't in vain.

Let's remember.

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.

~ Paula

1 comment: