Yesterday was the Anzac Day observance. It was a holiday in New South Wales. This is the subject I have chosen to deal with for the most significant local news story during my semester.
ANZAC Day is observed on 25 April of each year in Australia. This day commemorates the Gallipoli battle between Australian and New Zealander army and the Ottoman army in 1915.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. That means Oceanian troops that fought during the First World War.
To remove the Ottoman Empire, Australians and New Zealanders had to seize the city of Istanbul. The landing of the ANZAC begins on 25 April 1915 in Gallipoli. Despite the Turkish resistance, the ANZAC managed to occupy a part of the assault site. But the Turks then launched an attack against the ANZAC, killing more than 8,000 Australians.
Anzac Day is a national holiday in Australia since 1921. After the First and Second World War, veterans used to march in the cities.
Many activities take place on this special day such as prayers, hymns, a minute of silence, etc.
In Sydney, there was a public march in town.
At the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, families often put red poppies next to the names of dead relatives in fight.
ANZAC day is also observed in New Zealand and in New Caledonia.
My university published the following statement:
"When you go home tell them of us and say "for your tomorrow we gave our today".
Today we remember all those Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations and acknowledge the contribution and suffering of all those who have served and are serving".
Here is an article, on The Australian website, from Jamie Walker:
Anzac Day 2016: From Gallipoli to Gundagai, we remembered them
He is the last man standing and, at 94, there are times that Grahame Tweedale feels every bit his age — but not when he climbed out of his wheelchair and formed up with Anzac Day marchers, cheered to the rafters by a flag-waving crowd.
“I’m trying to look forward, not backwards,” Mr Tweedale said, his eyes glistening at the thought of all those mates who had faded away.
For the fourth year running, he was the only World War II veteran of the 7th Division Cavalry Regiment to march in Brisbane.
“You have to live for today, don’t you? That’s one of the things we learned,” he said.
In Gallipoli, 2000 people were on hand for downsized ceremonies near Anzac Cove and atop the deadly ridge at Lone Pine.
Trekkers traversed the still-intimidating Kokoda Trail to see the sun rise over Bomana war cemetery in Papua New Guinea, scene of the 1942 battles that saved Australia from Japanese invasion.
In France, the sacrifice of the 60,000 Australian troops killed in World War I was remembered at the Australian National Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux where Governor-General Peter Cosgrove said: “Let us never forget each other and what truly binds us.”
Malcolm Turnbull spoke of the wartime service of his grandfather, an infantry private on the Western Front. “We talked about many things, Fred and I — fishing and carpentry, politics and poetry — but he never talked to me about the trenches,” the Prime Minister said, delivering the commemorative address at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. “A lot of his generation were like that.”
Serving Diggers on deployment in Afghanistan paraded in the chill of a Kabul dawn, while at Camp Taji in Iraq the Australians didn’t move a muscle when a cloud of mosquitoes descended on the Anzac Day service. Chief of the Defence Force Mark Binskin told them: “The courage, endurance and mateship forged by the Anzacs is carried by the men and women who serve Australia on operations today.”
If the crowds were smaller at home, the emotion invested in Anzac Day was heightened by the realisation another generation of servicemen and servicewomen would soon be gone.
At last count, fewer than 14,000 World War II veterans remain, with time catching up with them at an estimated rate of 30 a day. Mr Tweedale’s unit is a case in point. Only one other veteran of the 7th Division Cavalry Regiment, 99-year-old Fred From, was well enough to join the Brisbane parade — and he rode in a Jeep, along with most World War II vets.
Mr Tweedale was determined to march. When granddaughter Kristi James, 43, suggested he use a wheelchair, he bristled. “He belted me with his walking stick and said, ‘No, I want to do it myself’,” she said after they completed the march. A happy crowd of 25,000 cheered them on.
Mr Tweedale said he was honouring not only his comrades, but also his late wife, Betty, who collapsed and died while watching him march on Anzac Day eight years ago. He had lied about his age to join up in 1940 and became a gunner on a Bren gun carrier, fighting in North Africa and PNG. The regiment took such heavy casualties during the do-or-die battles on the Kokoda Trail and at Milne Bay in 1942 that it had to be folded into another formation.
Mr Tweedale did not get home to Betty until 1946, after the Japanese surrendered. They went on to have nine children, 29 grandchildren and 56 great-grandchildren. For all the pride he has in his war service, Anzac Day is increasingly tinged with personal sadness. “What else could it be?” he said, recalling his absent wife and friends.
The changing of the guard, from World War II veterans to those of later conflicts was reflected in the order of march in Melbourne, led for the first time by Vietnam War vets.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, when 108 Australian troops held off a regiment of up to 2500 enemy Vietnamese soldiers and militia.
As veterans and serving defence personnel filed by in Sydney, people in the crowd shouted “Thank you”. A spritely Jack Brightwell, a World War II artillery surveyor, said the support was uplifting. “I think solidarity within the community is necessary. There’s plenty of evil out there.”
In Perth, a downpour failed to dampen the enthusiasm of either marchers or onlookers. World War II veteran Leonard Bowley was so keen to get to the parade he made sure his doctor discharged him from hospital in time. The 95-year-old was drenched but in good spirits as he was pushed in his wheelchair by his granddaughters.
The march in Adelaide attracted a crowd of 15,000, lining CBD streets from the War Memorial to the Cross of Sacrifice. Anzac Day committee chairman Ian Smith said politicians who sent young men and women to war had a duty to care for them when they returned home. “Sadly, this process can result in family breakdown, homelessness and has even seen a number of our veterans take their own lives,” he said.
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