The Spirit of ANZAC
Hobart Travel Blog› entry 52 of 61 › view all entries
Anzac Day, April 25th, is a day that is very dear to the heart of all Australians, a day when we remember those that have fallen in times of war, in service to their country, its people, and freedom for mankind.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corp.
ANZAC means much more than that though; it embodies what it meant to be a Digger, a Battler. ANZAC is the true essence of being Australian.
The ANZAC spirit; bold and ferocious in battle but - unwilling to bow to military discipline.
To be an Australian is to do your best for your family and country against all odds with not a small amount of disdain and irreverence for the authorities.
Each year on ANZAC day in every town in Australia, a service is held at dawn to commemorate the fallen, and those who fought for our fine country, and the freedom we take for granted. This year on April 25, I made my way to the Lindisfarne War memorial to honour the men and women of the Australian armed services. It was a moving ceremony and I hope you enjoy the photos I took on my early morning.
Below is something I found which describes the spirit of ANZAC more eloquently than I can.
The Spirit of ANZAC was suggested by official war historian C.E.W. Bean to have 'stood, and still stands, for reckless valour in a good cause, for enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship and endurance that will never own defeat.' The Spirit was epitomised in the deeds of Simpson with his donkey at Gallipoli - comradeship, courage and sacrifice: others before self. It also encompasses the laughter, the pride and the love of life that is in every Australian. To really understand this Spirit, one must delve back into our country's past.
Australia is a huge land. In the early days, settlements were scarce and far apart yet pioneers built our society's foundations in these fragmented tiny communities. The sun and the open land, the independence and the freedom of living under these conditions was a flame in the blood of our pioneers, a flame that burns whenever men are free, wherever there is a spirit which is willing to help those in need.
Conflicts were not unknown to this part of the world. The Eureka Stockade troubles of 1854 in Victoria, the shearers' strike of 1890 in Queensland and the subsequent eastern seaboard maritime strikes were but a few home grown examples. New Zealand's Maori wars in the early 1860s saw volunteers from the separate colonies of Australia assisting their Kiwi mates to establish independence in another developing country. Again in 1885 the colonies displayed passionate outrage and a willingness to avenge the brutal death of Britain's General Gordon at Khartoum, despite only a New South Wales contingent being accepted for service. And when the Boer War erupted in South Africa, volunteer units from the colonies competed for a place beside the Mother Country's warriors.
Thus, although the disparate colonies of our great land did not federate till 1901, Australians and New Zealanders had been united since the beginnings of their countries and this unity, this love of life had formed the basis of the Spirit of ANZAC. 'The Mother Country's in a spot of bother again,' was a typical observation when the Great War began in 1914. 'Might as well help her get this sorted out,' was the accustomed response to someone in need. For a century the antipodean survivors had been helping overcome Nature's curses and supporting each other's causes. Now they were equally ready again to assist Britain, this time to overcome German militarism. This was the Spirit which imbued the volunteers as they dashed off with seemingly gay abandon to the First World War and what was to become the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
These bold, laughing soldiers were a new, unknown factor of a very old Empire.
On 25 April 1915 a new world was born. A new side of man's character was revealed. The Spirit of ANZAC was kindled. It flared with a previously unknown, almost superhuman strength. There was a determination, a zest, a drive which swept up from the beaches on Gallipoli Peninsula as the ANZACs thrust forward with their torch of freedom. As they fell, they threw those following the torch so their quest would maintain its momentum.
But the Spirit of ANZAC is not confined to the battlefield. It lives in the schools, on the sports fields, in fact all over these great countries of Australia and New Zealand. The sun invades our bodies and makes us 'mad'; mad for freedom - freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom to live and think as you will. The Spirit of ANZAC is not something we can see but a powerful driving sensation that can only be felt. It is a feeling that burns in the heart of every Australian and New Zealand countryman. A warm, tender, fiery, even melancholy ideal that nurtures intense patriotism in the innermost soul of everybody.
The Spirit of ANZAC is invincible. It is the flame that burns forevermore in the heart of every true Australian and New Zealander. Today we stand safe and free, clothed with all the privileges and rights of citizens in these great free countries. And all these things - liberty, security, opportunity, the privileges of citizenship - we owe to those men who fought, endured, suffered, and died for us and for their country. Their deeds and their sacrifices gave us the invincible, the intangible, the Spirit of ANZAC.
Retired Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Burke is the honorary secretary of the ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee of Queensland.
They shall not grow 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.
For the Fallen, by Laurence Binyon
Lest we forget.
Please have a look at this blog by TravBuddy genetravelling to find out about the history of ANZACS in Gallipoli and the ‘Birth of ANZAC’. It is a beautifully moving story that brought me to tears. Thank you, Geno.