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Remember the 25th of April, ANZAC Day
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“Today we remember with thanksgiving those who made the supreme sacrifice for us in time of war. We pray that the offering of their lives may not have been in vain. Today we dedicate ourselves to the cause of justice, freedom and peace; and for the wisdom and strength to build a better world.”

25th April, ANZAC Day

The 25th of April each year is celebrated as ANZAC Day as one of Australia's most deeply regarded and solemn national dates. This Date commemorates the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli Turkey, where Turkish national forces fought Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. ANZAC is the acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as ANZACs, a name which in those countries is held in the highest of esteem.

In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed a part of the invasion forces tasked with the capture of the Dardanelles, their task was to capture the Gallipoli peninsula and to open the Dardanelles passage for British and French Naval Forces. The ultimate objective was to capture the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Constantinople  which is now Istanbul in modern day Turkey, and which at that time was the ally of the Imperial forces of Germany. The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on the Gallipoli peninsular as dawn broke on the 25th April.

As the Allied troops rushed the beaches they were met with a withering hail of fire from a small force of determined Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a knockout blow soon became a stalemate, and the campaign would drag on for eight months ending only after both sides had suffered dreadful numbers of maimed and killed. Some eight thousand Australian and New Zealanders had been killed, the numbers of Turkish casualties are still not fully known to this day. On the home front the results of the landings at ANZAC cove took a devastating toll on Australians and New Zealanders, for such a small population almost no family was left untouched and the 25th of April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died at Anzac and at later battles in the war.

Ultimately the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australian and New Zealand actions during the campaign however left an enduring legacy on the Australian and New Zealand peoples. The creation of what became known as the “Anzac legend” became a core piece of the social fabric of each nation.

Today Australians recognise the 25th of April as a day of national remembrance, each year dawn services are held. Later in the day former service members take part in ANZAC Parades in all capital cities and in many small towns. Memorials are held at shrines of remembrance around the country. It is here that ANZAC Day is spent with solemn reverence and in reflection on the sacrifice and legacy of war.

Lest we Forget.

Article - Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial


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