Anzac Day - Lest we Forget
We will Remember Them
"In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields."
Flanders Fields - John McCrae
In commemoration of Anzac Day, we received a lovely blog post from one of our fabulous Australian customers, Phillip.
"Across Australia and New Zealand today millions gathered at War Memorial’s, Shrines and Cenotaphs to commemorate ANZAC Day. An acronym for “Australian and New Zealand Army Corps”. 104 years after the landing at Gallipoli on this day - ANZAC Day, people of all generations gather to remember and to give thanks to those who have gone before us, those who serve today and relatives of the fallen who march in towns and cities right across the two countries.
Australians and New Zealanders across the world will pause to commemorate with services at Gallipoli, Villers - Bretonneux (France), London and other locations across the globe.
This morning, in Melbourne (where I live) an estimated 25,000 people gathered at The Shrine of Remembrance for the annual Dawn Service. I was so pleased to be able to attend again this year. As always a very moving service as the large crowd gathered in silence. Large crowds also gathered in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and other towns and cities across the country.
As our veterans marched down the streets today behind their battalion banners, they were greeted with applause and cheers as the generations, young and old stood as one to say Thank You. As I was leaving the Shrine this morning (after the march), a Serviceman was talking to some young people about his experience during war. He spoke with humility and the young people listened intently. Thats what the spirit of Anzac is all about. Passing on the legend to younger generations of Australians.
Those young men who went to Gallipoli went because it was an “adventure”, it was to see the world… For them, it was the horror of war. For us to see the world we just get on a plane or a cruise ship and away we go. As the troop ships sailed away from Albany on the Western Australian coast, mothers wept, sons excited. Many of those sons will not return home. For those mothers who lost their sons, do not weep, they are at peace and they are safe.
In the words of then Ottoman General Ataturk "You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well"
Gallipoli itself was a disaster, but it's where the legend of ANZAC was born. On arrival the morning of April 25th 1915, Johnny Turk was waiting for us. 11,000 Australian & New Zealand troops where killed in battle. Those who survived went on to fight in the battlefields of France later in the war. From a country of 5 million, just over 400,00 Australians enlisted for the Australian Infantry Force, 60,000 paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Sadly today, there are no World War 1 ANZACS with us anymore, they have all passed on. Their spirit and legend is still alive and full of strength. Our World War 2 ANZACS are thinning in numbers, their spirit and legend is full of strength and valour. We also commemorate and say thank you to those who served in Korea, Vietnam, The Gulf, Afghanistan and various peace keeping missions around the world today.
While the number of “Diggers” is decreasing as the years go on, their spirit lives on in each and every one of us.They will be never forgotten, their service revered, their dignity and humility honoured.
Anzac Day is a day where old mates re-unite amongst ever thinning ranks, they gather to remember the days with their mates. It may only be the 1 time a year they get to spend time with each other…
Of course, being in Australia, sport always plays a key part in Anzac Day. As I type this, Essendon and Collingwood are about to play their traditional Anzac Day AFL Clash in front of 95,000 fans at the MCG... Meanwhile up in Sydney, the Sydney Roosters and St George Illawarra will play their game of Rugby League at the Sydney Cricket Ground in front of 40,000 fans. Both games will honour the Anzacs with an Observance Ceremony prior to each game.
They shall not grow old,
As we are who 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."