Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Australians and New Zealanders throughout the world stood still and turned out in huge numbers for their national war memorial days in remembrance of the failed Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) — attack on Gallipoli, Turkey that began on 25 April 1915. The fateful attack was designed to end the First World War quicker by creating a supply line to Russia. A hundred thousand died in the battle, remembered every year as ANZAC Day by both nations. The British-directed battle of Gallipoli is often seen as a defining moment in the ‘birth’ of Australia and New Zealand. The battlefields of Gallipoli, where so much blood was shed, has become near-sacred soil.
This is the 91st anniversary of the attack. This is the first ANZAC day where there have been no survivors left from World War I.
Around 10,000 people are turned out at the dawn service at Gallipoli.
Meanwhile dawn services have been held throughout New Zealand. The numbers of veterans may be dwindling, but the numbers of those who come to pay their respects is not. In Auckland nearly 20,000 people attended the dawn service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. During the service, a 62-year-old veteran of the Malayan campaign died of a heart attack, falling face forward on to the concrete as the Last Post was sounded.
In Wellington, about 5000 people gathered at the Cenotaph near the Parliament buildings.
Speaking at the service Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association president John Campbell said, “We are honouring the Anzacs. We are not here to glorify war, but to remember that we value who we are and the freedoms we possess…They did not die in vain. They fought for peace, freedom and democracy.”
The Governor-General of New Zealand, Dame Silvia Cartwright, addressed the crowd, at the Wellington service saying “Soldiers, veterans, all New Zealanders who are gathered here, around New Zealand and around the world to commemorate ANZAC Day. Today is the day we grieve for our fellow New Zealanders killed in war. It is the day we honour them, and remember their sacrifice”. This is her last ANZAC Day as Governor-General.
2006 is the New Zealand Year of the Veteran, and the 90th anniversary of the organisation founded by those who did return from Gallipoli – the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association.
Australia and New Zealand commemorate the ANZAC Day public holiday on the 25th of April every year to honour the bravery and sacrifice of the members of the ANZAC’s and of all those who served their country —
Lest we Forget.