25 April is marked as Australia’s most important national day. Today is our remembrance day – ANZAC Day. It is our saddest day.
The ANZACs – or the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps – began in 1915 when the Australian and New Zealand soldiers joined forces to fight in World War One.
On this day the ANZACs, on an Allied Forces campaign, landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula. It was an attempt to capture this strategic coastline to attack the Ottomans and take their capital Constantinople – now Istanbul in Turkey.
The landings at Gallipoli were met by an unexpectedly fierce Ottoman resistance. In the eight-month stalemate – a strike force gone horribly wrong – there were many casualties on both sides.
The ANZACs suffered terrible losses, as did the British and French forces. By the time the troops were evacuated, 8,709 Australians and 2,721 New Zealanders had lost their lives.
Now, the 25 April is a day we commemorate casualties in not just WWI, but also WWII, and any other time a brother or sister of our two nations loses their life in the call of duty.
Today, we remember the brave and glorious dead. Today, we honour them. Today we bless them for their bitter sacrifice.