Tomorrow is a day of remembrance for Australians and New Zealanders. It is 98 years since our country’s first major involvement in WWI, which turned out to be a total disaster for us with major losses on both sides for the battle at Gallipoli Cove.
Wikipedia says the battle that ensured the landing on April 25, 2015 was known under many names, the Gallipoli campaign, Dardeanelles campaign, the battle of Gallipoli or the Battle of Canakkale but whatever name it was a campaign considered to be one of the greatest victories for the Turkish army. For the young men of the Australian New Zealand Army Corps it was a gruelling, cruel battle that their only option was to fight; for the land and their lives. Their backs were to the sea, steep rugged cliffs barred their easy progress forward and trenches and foxholes became their only safety between attempts to push forward. As I said, it was a disaster for the men of the Allied forces who actually made it from the boats to the beach. Many died just trying to get to dry land. I have no doubt in the ensuing months of battle that some of those who did survive considered those who didn’t lucky.
My dad and my uncle, his brother, often spoke about how the English landed our poor buggers at the wrong beach but I don’t know if that is true or not. The truth is however that although our troops lost the battle they earned the respect of our nation and the people of the country they were trying to invade. I’m not going to dull you or try to give you the horrors of how many lives were lost or men who were injured or maimed, you can find that anywhere on the web, I just want to pay my own respect and remember the sacrifice they all made.
It has been 98 years and we have no original soldiers of the Australian New Zealand Army Corps, Anzacs, anymore to be part of tomorrows Anzac Day remembrance. But some of us will be standing at memorials all around the country at the time our troops landed at the cove, dawn, to shed a tear and listen to the lone bugler play. Past and present troops will still march and air force planes will fly in formation above them. We will remember them and all those who fight under government orders, wherever that may be.
Each year at the place it all happened the Turkish government go out of its way to welcome pilgrims to Gallipoli Cove for a dawn service to commemorate. Their respect for the soldiers who dug in and held strong to the tiny bit of land is not forgotten. Although they won this battle, they still lost many in the fight. It is also a day of remembrance for them.
The Anzac Ode comes from For the Fallen, a poem by Laurence Binyon. It became the Ode of the Returned and Services League in Australia in 1921
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.
This is a song by Eric Bogle from Youtube that says it all.