The Spirit of Anzac

AnzacThey 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.

– Laurence Binyon

On the 25th of April each year, New Zealand pauses to remember the Anzac Soldiers who fought their first major military campaign in Gallipoli. ANZAC stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. April 25th is a public holiday known as Anzac day and this year marks the 100th anniversary of this event.

In 1915, the ANZACs mission was to seize the Gallipoli peninsula and open the way to the Black Sea for the Allied navies. The objective was to capture Constantinople (now known as Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, which was an ally of Germany during the war. However, upon landing at Gallipoli, the ANZAC soldiers were met by fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish enemy. What was intended as a bold strike resulted in the death of one fifth of the Kiwi Soldiers who served on Gallipoli.

Although this battle lead to defeat, the Gallipoli landings marked the beginning a feeling amongst New Zealanders that we have a role as a distinct nation, even as we fought on the other side of the world for the British Empire. Tomorrow, the 25th of April each ear commemorates all New Zealanders killed in war, and honours our retuned servicemen and women.

100 years ago, the ANZACs landed at Gallipoli at dawn. Every year since, dawn services are held around New Zealand to mark this occasions. At these ceremonies, dignitaries speak, current NZ Soldiers fire the vollies in remembrance of those who have passed, the poem ‘Ode for the Fallen’ is read (the poem at the beginning of this article), poppies – a symbol of remembrance and respect for the shed blood – are laid on war memorials, and finally a tune called the last post is played on a bugle which symbolises that the duty of the dead is over, meaning they are now able to rest in peace. Wherever you will be in New Zealand on this day, share the spirit of the Anzacs. Take time to reflect on the freedom that New Zealand and Australia shares, due to those whom sacrificed their lives for our nations.

A list of the major Dawn services follows.

Dunedin: at the Cenotaph in Queens Gardens at 6.30am http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/events/exhibitions/anzac-day-dawn-service

Christchurch: at the Cenotaph in Cranmer Square at 6.30am http://www.ccc.govt.nz/cityleisure/eventsfestivals/communityevents/anzacday.aspx

Wellington: at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park at 5.30am http://wellington.govt.nz/events/annual-events/anzac-day

Palmerston North: Dawn service held at the Cenotaph at 6am http://www.pncc.govt.nz/news-events-and-culture/news/anzac-day-services-2015/

Auckland: at the Auckland domain in front of the War Memorial Museum at 6.00am http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/newseventsculture/events/Events/Pages/anzacdayservicescentral.aspx