Anzac Day: Lest We Forget

The 25th April is ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand. This day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. It is a commemoration of the sacrifice made by those young men who fought at Gallipoli in 1915, and also of all those 103,000 sons, brothers, fathers and others lost in war in the history of Australia. (This is not the time to mention all the indigenous Australians who were killed in an unacknowledged war by those colonists taking up the land here after settlement by Europeans in 1788).

Some of you have read my stories of Don, my step-father, a WWII veteran and a career army man. Especially in his later years Don became very active with his old regiment, he edited their bulletin until his death at 92 last December, and the highlight of his year was the annual get-together on ANZAC Day. They met before dawn in Sydney, marched to the Cenotaph for the dawn memorial service, then spent a lazy day eating, drinking and remembering. You will see him in the gallery with all his medals!

This morning we attended the Memorial Service at a tiny country memorial close to us here. The nicest thing is that here there is always a representation from the re-enactment of the Australian Light Horse Regiment. Don belonged to the 7th Division Cavalry and was fully trained on horseback. So today Stuart wore Don’s medals, and we joined perhaps a hundred people in the rain to remember, to sing, to pray there is never a war again.  The singing was led by Fred, a veteran with a marvelous deep voice, we had a few laughs, the high school and primary school children laid wreaths, as did the mayor and other representatives. Then the public brought their flowers and bouquets. All the time the horses and riders stood by. Here are some photos you might enjoy.

You can find some of Don’s comical war stories at the links below:

and here is another very informative and beautiful post on ANZAC Day by Louise

18 thoughts on “Anzac Day: Lest We Forget

  1. These are wonderful pictures of your memorial gathering. I rejoiced in the old faces as well as the young. Bless them all! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for sharing wonderful history, memorial, information on your step-father and the lovely photos. Les we forget, we remember in our gathering together.

    • thank you francine, i think of all the war dead and injured all over the world, i pray there will be peace, our consciousness seems to be evolving towards love and compassion which will surely reduce such violence so the young today may not grow up into war, but rather understanding and cooperation.

  3. Beautiful post! We visited Anzac cove in Gallipoli in 2007 and it was a very moving experience. The cemetary is in such a beautiful and serene setting, you would never imagine the horrors that took place there! The trenches nearby tell a different story!

    • yes madhu, it is a serene setting now … we saw it in 1998 … for us the starkest thing was the bullets in the museum, so many bullets joined together by the impact of hitting each other in the air …some looked like a dove, the peace dove 🙂

  4. That battle was a needless slaughter and complete disaster. But a worse disaster was how Britain and France broke up the Ottoman Empire in revenge after WW 1. Drawing lines on a map without considerations of culture, historical identity, religion and ethnicity have done much to create today’s mess. The most glaring is the name Palestine which was a geographic name based not on ethnicity. There is no Palestinian people as they are recent modern descendants of Jordanians, Lebanese and Syrians. Easy to see where that goes with Israel claims. No such thing as the Iraqi people and the folly of American policy there is founded on that misconception. Those post war boundaries have rendered the West incapable if seeing these people as they see themselves. The US policy makers are also unable to understand their attachment to the past over many centuries as part of self identity. There exists a great deal of nationalism within the subsets of people within these countries.

    • yes, thought of him quite a bit, especially at the service, and doing the post … i still see him in the house ..when we remember someone they are never ‘gone’ 🙂

  5. A lovely post and tribute Christine, so good to know that the children are involved because we must keep remembering. I’ve also posted on Anzac because I visited Gallipoli last year, a truly moving place.

  6. (This is not the time to mention all the indigenous Australians who were killed in an unacknowledged war by those colonists taking up the land here after settlement by Europeans in 1788).
    Perhaps not but I would love to hear about this from you, maybe you will write about it some day?

    • i do think about gilly, my ancestors were amongst them of course … one day i might be able to investigate more deeply around that country town where i grew up …now i just say ‘sorry’ inwardly as i remember that it is/was Wiradjuri country.

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