On April 25th Australians and New Zealanders all over the world celebrate ANZAC Day. This is a very special day on the calendar of both nations.
ANZAC is an acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. It is regarded by many in Australia as the day our nation took its place on the world stage. Soldiers from both countries landed on the beach of what was later called Anzac Cove at Gallipoli in Turkey on 25th April, 1915. It was at a terrible cost; many thousands of soldiers on both sides died in a protracted battle lasting many months.
ANZAC Day is celebrated throughout Australia and New Zealand and in many other parts of the world to commemorate this special event. Most communities – from small townships through the largest cities – hold Dawn Services to remember the fallen soldiers. Parades are a feature of our larger cities. As the soldiers who survived pass away with the passage of time, their places are proudly taken by their children and grandchildren, most wearing their badges and decorations with great respect and pride.
In the early 1980s the numbers observing this great event in our history dwindled as the numbers of survivors declined. In the last decade however, this trend has been reversed. As the last of the survivors of the attack in Gallipoli died several years ago, many of the younger generation – those in their twenties and thirties – suddenly realised the passing of history. Every year since the parades and observances have seen ever increasing numbers of participants, all eager to remember this significant turning point in our history. Of particular interest is the increasing number of people – again, mostly younger people – who make the long pilgrimage to Gallipoli itself. The emotionally moving Dawn Service on ANZAC Day is often attended by over twenty thousand people.
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