Monday, 25 April 2011
ANZAC Day, 2011
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.
For the Fallen, Laurence Binyon
Note for overseas readers: the 25th April marks the annual commemoration of the landing of troops from the 'Australia and New Zealand Army Corps' (ANZACs) at Gallipoli, Turkey in 1915, as part of a British attempt, planned by Winston Churchill, to capture Istanbul and take the Ottoman Empire, a German ally, out of World War I. The attempt failed, but since 1916 the day has been set aside by Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue and Tonga as a day of remembrance for those who served in WWI, and more broadly in all conflicts since (for cultural, geographic and historic reasons, the soldiers of these countries have often served side by side in theatres of war). Culturally, Anzac Day holds the same position in Australia as Veterans' Day in the US or Remembrance Day in the UK. Attendance at Anzac Day parades and memorial services has increased, rather than diminished, in contemporary times. Most Australian families of long-standing have ancestors who have served in war; I have two great uncles who served in France in WWI and a grandfather who served in the Pacific theatre in WWII.