Today, Friday 25th April, is Anzac day. For those who are not familiar with it, Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
The ANZAC force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April. Over 8,000 Australian and 2,700 New Zealand soldiers died on those shores.
The date, 25 April, was officially named Anzac Day in 1916,and now Australians and New Zealanders recognise 25 April as a ceremonial occasion. Commemorative services are held at dawn, the time of the original landing, across both nations.
In my younger years, I was not too interested in the Anzac tradition, thinking that it glorified War and all those associated with it. However, as I have grown up, I have come to realise that far from being a glorification of war, it is a time to remember all those Australian and New Zealand Men and Women who gave their lives while they served to protect their Nation and Ideals in desperate times.
Anzac day is now no longer limited to commemorating the Soldiers of the First World War. It has expanded to all conflicts in which Australians and New Zealanders have participated.
I have found an old song, Music written by E.L and H.N Summers, and words taken from the Bible and written by Lawrence Binyon.
The song re minds us of a pledge made in 1916, when Anzac day was official named
"We Will Remember them"
The words are as follows:
Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life,
his life for his friends.
They shall grow not old
as we that are left, grow old.
Age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them
We will remember them.
This is an especially moving reminder to all of us to stop and remember all of the brothers-in-arms from around the world who sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom. The Anzacs certainly did a lot of the heavy lifting in both World Wars. In the early months after Pearl Harbor, the world expected the fall of New Zealand and Australia to the Japanese forces. The fighting, endurance, and survival along the rugged mountain trails there was of the grimest sort ever known. Thanks for helping us to "remember them."