Yesterday April 25th was ANZAC Day here in Australia. Across Australia Aussies remembered the ANZAC soldiers of World War I along with other Australian soldiers of the past and today. ANZAC stands for the Australian New Zealand Army Corps that was formed in response to the British Empire’s request for troops to fight in World War I. The ANZAC’s most memorable battle was on the shores of Gallipoli in modern day Turkey where the Australians took massive losses in the blundered attack. However, the shared suffering and bravery of the attack resignates with the Australian character of mateship and is thus remembered on ANZAC Day.
I spent ANZAC Day by attending a dawn service that began at 5:45AM at a local military base. The service began with some Australian soldiers dressed in World War I uniforms performing a skit of complete with flares and machine guns firing blanks. After the skit a chaplain gave prayers for the ANZAC soldiers and then different Australian Army units and community organizations laid wreaths on the cross you see pictured above.
Towards the end of the service a local elementary school chorus sang the official ANZAC song. After the song everyone at the service recited the ANZAC oath that Australians appear to remember just like we remember the Pledge of Allegiance in America:
They shall grow not old as we 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.
Lest we forget.
Following the service the group I was with went and got breakfast and then in fine Aussie tradition spent the rest of the morning at the pub drinking beers and watching the ANZAC Day Parade happening in downtown Melbourne on TV. All in all a really good day and we in America could learn a lot from the Australians about how they honor their veterans like they do on ANZAC Day.
Here is a final tribute to all the diggers past and present on ANZAC Day: