Wednesday, April 25, 2012

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them

Lest We Forget

Why is this day special to Australians?

When war broke out in 1914, Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only 13 years. The new national government was eager to establish its reputation among the nations of the world. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany.
The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated, after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers had been killed. News of the landing on Gallipoli had made a profound impact on Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in the war.

Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australian and New Zealand actions during the campaign left us all a powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as the “ANZAC legend” became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the ways they viewed both their past and their future. (more)
Tomorrow morning at around 4:30am, and at services later in the day, millions of Australians will gather at their local cenotaphs to remember.

Here is their spirit, in the heart of the land they loved; and here we guard the record which they themselves made. Charles Bean 1948.

ANZAC Day, AWM 2012


A Tribute to ANZAC Day
With their hair a little whiter, their step not quite so sure
Still they march on proudly as they did the year before.
Theirs were the hands that saved us, their courage showed the way
Their lives they laid down for us, that we may live today.
From Gallipoli’s rugged hillsides, to the sands of Alamein
On rolling seas and in the skies, those memories will remain.
Of airmen and the sailors, of Lone Pine and Suvla Bay
The boys of the Dardenelles are remembered on this day.
They fought their way through jungles, their blood soaked desert sands
They still remember comrades who rest in foreign lands.
They remember the siege of old Tobruk, the mud of the Kokoda Trail
Some paying the supreme sacrifice with courage that did not fail.
To the icy land of Korea, the steamy jungles of Vietnam
And the heroic battle of Kapyong and that epic victory at Long Tan.
Fathers, sons and brothers, together they fought and died
That we may live in peace together, while at home their mothers cried.
When that final bugle calls them to cross that great divide
Those comrades will be waiting when they reach the other side.

Ken Bunker


Merilyn said...

Lest We Forget.

Skeeter said...

We will remember them.

A great post, Kae.
You done good!

kc said...

Thank you, Kae, linked you at PPII.

We will remember them.

stackja1945 said...

The present writer [THE FIRST WORLD WAR BREAKS OUT - C E W Bean - 1946] can remember how, after the following night’s work at a newspaper office, as he walked home in the small hours through Macquarie Street, Sydney, the clouds, dimly piled high in the four quarters of the dark sky above, seemed to him like the pillared structure of the world’s civilisation, of which some shock had broken the keystones. The wide gap overhead seemed to show where one great pillar after another had crashed as the mutual support had failed; and, as the sky peered through, the last masses seemed to sway above the abyss. The stable world of the nineteenth century was coming down in chaos: security was gone.