Monday, April 23, 2007

Here's To Our Diggers, Past And Present...

















Tomorrow morning (Aussie-time), 25th April, I'll be attending the Anzac Day Dawn Service at 5am, up here on the mountain. It's something I do every year, a small token of my gratitude to our men and women, past and present, who place their lives in jeopardy in the battles for the rights and freedom of their fellowmen and women.

The bravery shown time and time again, and the sacrifices made by the men and women of our Forces are humbling.

Anzac Day, 25th April, commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders killed in war and also honours returned servicemen and women.

The date marks the anniversary of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers - the ANZACs - on the Gallipoli peninsula in 1915. The aim was to capture the Dardanelles, the gateway to the Bosphorus and the Black Sea. At the end of the campaign, its Turkish defenders still held Gallipoli.

Thousands lost their lives in the Gallipoli campaign: 87,000 Turks, 44,000 men from France and the British Empire, including 8500 Australians. Among the dead were 2721 New Zealanders, almost one in four of those who served on Gallipoli.

It may have led to a military defeat, but for many Australians and New Zealanders then and since, the Gallipoli landings meant the beginning of something else - a feeling that both fledgling nations played its role as a distinct nation, even as it fought on the other side of the world in the name of the British Empire.

The pride of those first young Anzacs continues to live through our brave unsung heroes and heroines fighting the battles for freedom on far distant shores and those here at home protecting the rights we value and shall retain.

Thank you to all the Service men and women of Australia and New Zealand...past and present.

May the spirit of ANZAC forever remain strong within us.

Lest We Forget

18 comments:

  1. I think Australia and New Zealand both have a lot to be proud of.

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  2. That we have, Gary...and tomorrow that pride will be on display albeit mixed with sad emotion.

    Thanks for your comment. :)

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  3. Well this is one I'll never forget. We always had a big to-do at school to celebrate Anzac Day and once I had to give a speech before the assembly.

    Something really worth remembering and honouring.

    April 23rd St George's day. I went to St George Girls' High School in Sydney so I know that one too.
    regards
    jmb

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  4. G'day, jmb...yep...I think every school in Australia commemorated/s Anzac Day...which is and was great. My brother and I made wreaths out of chrysanthemums from our garden to place alongside all the other wreaths on the Memorial Gates in Gympie (where I was raised and educated)every Anzac Day. It most definitely is worth honouring. It remains a very important date on the Aussie calendar.

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  5. Happy Anzac day to all of you on the North and South Islands, as well as those on the West Island, too.

    (Sorry, Lee, I couldn't resist.)

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  6. That's okay, Don...no need to apologise...the Kiwis don't mind being attached to Australia, except when it comes to sport! ;)

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  7. lee,
    As long as the likes of you and I are about, there'll be no forgetting!
    rel

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  8. Yep...that's for sure, Rel. :)

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  9. Hi Lee, I'll check the memorial gates in the morning to see if you snuck in with a wreath.

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  10. It'll be there in thought, Peter...picture two little kids placing one there. The little girl has plaits. :)

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  11. A great day to remember and celebrate. Good on the folks down under.

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  12. Thank you, Steve. :)

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  13. Your pride does you credit, Lee. We Brits have a lot to thank Oz and NZ for.

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  14. Yes...I'm proud to be an Aussie, Welsh...and particularly on a day like today. :)

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  15. good posting....may that spirit continue. Nice to see you attending the Anzac day Service in your next post, A Service-in memory of “They that will not grow old”, our ANZACS, who died for a mother country for another’s war on far off fateful shores. In total In WW1 over 300,000 young Australians volunteered to defend “Mother England” from a total population of 3 million, with 66% either killed or returning incapacitated. And in those days depression was not properly understood or treated so that many returning also finished up languishing in mental asylums.

    Youth to day is showing interest, both at attendance at Anzac day and in making contact and “adopting" old diggers who appreciate the interest. Many schools are encouraging children to adopt a particular battalion or regiment and March on their behalf.

    Its ironic that the ANZAC spirit arose from an ill conceived battle with its needless defeat and slaughter of innocent blood. The British maps of the landing area were flawed, depicting gentle slopes rather than the steep cliffs, not expecting that landing parties would be wading through deep water where many would drown, and be sitting ducks for Turkish machine gunners. There was a narrow strip of beach then tall cliffs to be scaled to face the Turkish enemy. The fleet could have sailed on further with little Turkish defences to a much easier landing. General Cosgrove can only shake his head in disbelief to day.

    I was never far away from reminders of the effects of the war as a child, my Father was a bomber pilot in WW 2 which hastened his premature death in his fifties and my Grandfather who served in both WW1 and the Boer War surprisingly enough survived into his seventies.

    Best wishes

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  16. Great comment, Lindsay...it is so very sad what happened in Gallipoli...it should never have been allowed to happen. So many young lives lost...they didn't stand a chance.

    We must never forget what those brave souls did. And we must always be proud of who we are.

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  17. Yes, this is a very special day to commemorate.

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  18. G'day Ellee...yes, it is a very special day...and one that is drawing more and more crowds each year. Our young people are more aware of its importance today, too, which is good to see.

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