On Sunday, April 25 we observe ANZAC Day, and remember those who fought for their country in the past and those who continue to serve today.
The ANZAC legend was born on the other side of the world 106 years ago. In the early hours of April 25, 1915, Australian, New Zealand, and Allied troops came ashore to fight the Turkish defenders at a place called Gallipoli.
It was the beginning of a campaign that lasted until just before Christmas, when the Australians were evacuated under the cover of darkness.
In that time there were more than 26,000 Australian casualties and more than 8100 deaths. This is in the context of World War I – the ‘Great War’ – where almost 417,000 Australians signed up. At the time, Australia had a population of fewer than 5 million, so nearly one-tenth of the population chose to serve their country.
More than 60,000 of those men lost their lives and another 156,000 were wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner.
Former Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson once said this group of people were those who had given the most to shape Australia’s sense of identity: “Who we are, beyond the farming community, are the men and women who have worn our uniform.”
It is incredibly important that we always remember them and give thanks for their service.
Lest We Forget.