Apr 25, 2014

ANZAC Day- Commemorating the fallen

Originally chosen to commemorate the fated Gallipoli campaign (that took place on the Gallipoli peninsula, Ottoman Empire) in World War One in 1915, ANZAC  Day, held on 25th April every year, is the day of Remembrance for all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in wars, conflicts or peacekeeping missions. The ANZAC acronym stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Like Remembrance Sunday in the UK and Memorial Day in US it is time for reflection and remembrance and thanksgiving for those who gave their lives for the freedoms we have today.

Anzac Cove
Being a newcomer to NZ we were unaware of ANZAC Day when we arrived here 12 years ago, but now we take part in one of the dawn services that are held around the country every year. This year we will be attending the service at the Auckland War Museum with a Turkish student, our guest, who has flown in for this specific event, although he will be staying with us for about 18 days.  He has come here as part a cultural exchange programme with our local high school and a high school in Tasmania. This exchange has been running for three years and both my sons were lucky enough to be selected to stay with the Turkish students and visited Gallipoli on the Turkish Day of Remembrance which is March 18th. I have their permission to share some of the photos they took in Gallipoli to give you an idea of the event there. (Unfortunately it is a military event so photos aren't allowed of the actual ceremony, but here are some they caught in between times).

War Memorial site, Gallipoli
The idea of the exchange is to foster positive and happy relationships between the countries who fought against each other and suffered many losses and casualties- a way of trying to heal the wounds and right the wrongs and of bringing three nations together. We have certainly enjoyed being a part of this programme and I know my sons have benefitted hugely from visiting Turkey and learning more about the Gallipoli campaign, the Turkish people and the beautiful country.

The exchange group 
Graves of the fallen on the Gallipoli hills
There is a strong military presence
Modern day uniform and 1915 uniform
Turkish flag
getting set up for the ceremony

One of the memorial cenotaphs
sail past
fly past

Remembrance garden

Commemoration to the ANZACS
Sunset over Anzac Cove

We can only hope that our children and their children and generations to come can learn from the blood shed and can take forwards the legacy these brave men and women fought for.

We will remember them


  1. Thansk for my first bawl of the day, Louisa :-(
    We usually attend a local sunrise service which is just lovely but as I'm working nights tonight I didn't fancy a 5 am start.
    We're heading to Villers Bretenneaux in 2018 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Australian soldiers freeing that town from the German's which also happens to fall on ANZAC Day. Looking forward to that.

    1. Sorry! I have to admit I got all teary eyed when writing it, and then again at the Last Post this morning :(

      You'll have a special time in Villers Bretenneaux, Amy. What an occasion that will be.

  2. What a wonderful post. Thanks, Louisa.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Louisa. It's a lovely post.
    Huge thunderstorms here which will impact on the big Sydney march, I think.

  4. Hi Annie, as long as we keep them all in our hearts, that's what counts xx

  5. Gorgeous post, Louisa, and I think that exchange program sounds fabulous…not to mention valuable. :-)

    That Commemoration to the ANZACs was seriously moving, btw.

    1. Hi Michelle, yes, as a mother of two boys that commemoration had me in floods of tears…beautiful, though.

  6. Louisa

    What a lovely post ANZAC Day has such a special meaning to us all it is a day for thoughts and thanks to the Men and Woman who lost their lives for us all

    Have Fun

    1. Thanks, Helen, it really is a day when we can stop and give thanks.

  7. Heartfelt words, Louisa. It's truly a blessing to see the commemorations growing hugely in strength and unity each year! May our young people never have to experience the pain and bloodshed of war <3 Lest we forget...

  8. What a simply beautiful post, Louisa.

    As we were travelling between the islands today we couldn't make our usual dawn parade but we talked to the kids about what ANZAC day means, and the people like their Great-great uncle Charlie who was lost in World War Two. DH and I were lucky enough to visit Gallipoli one year and it had a huge impact on us. Lest we forget.

  9. Lovely post, Louisa. And thank you for sharing those wonderful photos - Ataturk's words on the commemoration are wrenching.

    There has been some compelling footage on TV leading up to this ANZAC Day. One that stood out to me is the choir of young people who will be singing at the service in Anzac Cove. Sad to realise that many of the young men who went over there to fight all those decades ago, would have been about the same age or just a little older than the singers. Very sobering.

    1. I know what you mean, Sharon- very sobering indeed. I look at my two teenage sons aged 17 and 16 and my heart breaks for all those families who lost boys not even a year older than mine.

  10. Wow Louisa! What a lovely post! I did not know you weren't allowed to take pics during the service. How lucky is your son to visit Turkey. I plan on going to the Museum next year for the centennial celebrations. ANZAC day to me is the one day of the year we Kiwi's don't seem to fight (like Waitangi Day) and everyone respectfully remembers our elders who fought in the war. It's very much part of our culture and I really hope the services will continue another 100 years.

  11. Hi Tash- having revisited this question with my sons, I'm led to believe they were told that they couldn't take pictures by their teachers…which may possibly have been more out of respect than military orders! I was at the museum on ANZAC morning, and I have to say it is a very moving occasion- if you get the chance to go definitely do. But get there early- parking is a nightmare x