ANZAC Day – 25 April
ANZAC day, the 25th of April, is one of the most important dates in the Australian calendar. It is a public holiday celebrated around the country in commemoration of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who lost their lives in 1915.
What is ANZAC Day?
25 April 1915
In 1915 Australian and New Zealand troops embarked on their first major military action in a World War.
The ANZACS (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) formed part of the envoy that was sent to take hold of the Gallipoli peninsula. The peninsula was a necessary capture so that the allied troops could proceed through Dardanelles to capture Constantinople. The passage to Constantinople was fiercely protected by the Ottoman Turkish as was Gallipoli.
The ANZACs landed on Gallipoli on 25 April. Instead of this being an easy conquest, the fight between the ANZACS and Ottoman Turkish defends continued for 8 months. More than 8 000 Australian soldiers died before the ANZACs were evactuated.
How ANZAC Day developed
60 000 Australians and 18 000 New Zealanders died during World War 1.
On the year anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign the 25 of April was named ANZAC Day.
On that day various ceremonies were held in Australia together with a march in London and a Sports Day in the Australian camp deployed in Egypt. To think that some of those men who marched in London and played in Egypt would still lose their lives during the War and be honoured in later ANZAC day ceremonies is chilling.
In the 1920s the 25th of April was officially established as the day on which all ANZACs who had lost their lives in World War 1 would be remembered.
In 1927 ANZAC day became a public holiday in some States.
After WWII ANZAC Day become a memorium for the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who had lost their lives in both wars.
We now remember all ANZACs who have lost their lives in military and peacekeeping campaigns.
What we do on ANZAC Day
ANZAC Day is observed by all Australians. Even the shops are closed until midday on ANZAC day to allow for everyone to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives.
While there are a number of memorials and commerations held there are two main features of ANZAC day. There are dawn services help across the nation to commerate the time of the first landing at Gillopili.
The half-light of dawn was one of the times favoured for launching an attack. Soldiers in defensive positions were woken in the dark before dawn, so by the time first light crept across the battlefield they were awake, alert, and manning their weapons; this is still known as the “stand-to”.
The second feature of ANZAC day is the National Ceremony which follows a traditional order of service.
The Traditional Order of Service
The veteran’s march.
Laying of wreaths.
The sounding of the Last Post.
Observance of one minute’s silence.
The national anthems of New Zealand and Australia.