Saturday, April 25, 2009

ANZAC Day

Australia New Zealand Army Corps




ANZAC Day commemorates all New Zealanders killed in war and also honours returned servicemen and women. The date itself marks the anniversary of the landing of New Zealand and Australian soldiers – the Anzacs – on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. The aim was to capture the Dardanelles, the gateway to the Bosphorus and the Black Sea. At the end of the campaign, Gallipoli was still held by its Turkish defenders.

Thousands lost their lives in the Gallipoli campaign: 87,000 Turks, 44,000 men from France and the British Empire, including 8500 Australians.Among the dead were 2721 New Zealanders, almost one in four of those who served on Gallipoli.
It may have led to a military defeat, but for many New Zealanders then and since, the Gallipoli landings meant the beginning of something else – a feeling that New Zealand had a role as a distinct nation, even as it fought on the other side of the world in the name of the British Empire.



In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.



For me Anzac Day has extremely special significance - is it the birth date of my youngest son, Kieran, the same son who is in the New Zealand Army. Somehow I feel that he was destined to be in our Defence Force one way or another, perhaps his early arrival into the world was that meant he made his d├ębut on April 25th was for a reason. Early to arrive, always rushing around - & a determination to 'fly fighter planes' from the grand old age of four years old.

Anzac Day, is a remembrance of the past, but also the offer of hope for the future. These days the services & those that spend time with the Returned Servicemen afterwards, not only pay due respect to the past - but look ahead in the hopes that there will never be another 'World War' - but know at the same time our sons, partners, husbands will be better placed if there is.
I actually think part of the message from one of the 2008 Dawn service speeches say's it best;
"It is dawn …. It is the 25th of April
ANZAC …it is not a place, or a date, or an event

ANZAC is people - in uniform and supporting those in uniform – mates – who live together, fight together, and at times die together.

It is a testament to our veterans.
And it is a testament to those that still serve."

Knowing that these days conscription is not in force & that any person in the Army is there by choice, willing to serve their country in the name of world peace & help with ongoing peace keeping in the tumultuous countries that have experienced an uprising is somewhat reassuring for a Mother....& - especially a mother that knows her son is being deployed, instead of getting married later this year.

I'd say it's a pretty good reason to be proud.



Oh yes - HaPpY Birthday Baby boy ;o)





3 comments:

Kieran said...

Hi mum, once again ranting on about your son. But thanks for putting that up about anzac day.

Deb said...

Ranting huh? Watch it bud - I brought you into this world, I can take you out ;o)
(ok - so maybe not so much these days)

angelinabeadalina said...

I hope you had a fine birthday, Kieran! Deb, you should be very proud of that young man you raised :)