Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sydney, Australia.
ANZAC DAY 2005, what it means to Australians
Since 1915, one day in the year has involved the whole of Australia in solemn ceremonies of remembrance, gratitude and national pride. That day is Anzac Day - 25 April.
Why does a nation pause to remember this day? It is because that day, 25 April, 1915, was the day when Australia as a nation faced the supreme test of quality and courage, the landing on the beach at Gallipoli of Australian and New Zealand soldiers.
When World War 1 began on 4 August, 1914, Australia's Prime Minister, Joseph Cook, made an offer of 20 000 soldiers and ten weeks later, the first contingent of volunteers was on ships bound for Egypt. It was in Egypt that the acronym "ANZAC" was first used as a simple code. As they sailed, a strategy was being formulated to capture the outlet from the Black Sea in order to relieve the pressure on Russian soldiers in the Caucasian and influence Bulgaria to join the Allies.
So the Gallipoli campaign was formulated. On a dark Sunday morning, 25 April, 1915, the soldiers landed in the dark and under heavy fire, climbed steep cliffs covered in prickly scrub and won a foothold on the plateau and ridges. The next eight months saw many feats of courage and bravery on both sides. Apart from the heavy casualties from attack and counter attack, the lines were so close that there was no respite from the heavy bombing, shells and mines.
Finally on 20 December, 1915, the pressures of other areas of the War, led to the evacuation of the survivors of Gallipoli, an event accomplished without further casualties. 7 600 Australians and nearly 2 500 New Zealanders were mortally wounded at Gallipoli and 24 000 more were wounded. Fewer than 100 were taken prisoner. However, it was not so much that Gallipoli with all its hardships, heriocs and suffering was any worse than the other wars that Australians have since taken part in, it was that this was the first real test of our country as a nation. And we did not fail!!!
Anzac stood and still stands for reckless valour in a good cause, for enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship and endurance that will never own defeat. It has become synonymous with the determination and spirit of our armed forces.
So every year on April 25, we have a day of remembrance where we can express our gratitude to all those men and women then and since, who helped keep our country free from invasion; to acknowledge our debt to these men and women, their wives and husbands, mothers and children and our obligation to those who gave their lives to protect our way of life.
May God protect and keep us all safe and be with those who now fighting to maintain these hard won freedoms that my family enjoy today.
by written Leon Gellert in 1918
There's a lonely stretch of hillocks
There's a beach asleep and drear
There's a battered, broken fort beside the sea.
There are sunken, trampled graves
And a little rotting pier
And winding paths that wind unceasingly.
There's a torn and silent valley
There's a tiny rivulet
With some blood upon the stones beside its mouth.
There are lines of buried bones
There's an unpaid waiting debt
There's a sound of gentle sobbing in the South.
One thing that really appeals to me is this idea of music being a living thing that has an evolution that, in a way, enables the artist to sell a process rather than a piece of product.