Anzac day

Melbourne Travel Blog

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James Button, an English journalist for the Age, writes that 'the sun coming up and striking the hill where the Albury war monument stands was a "magic experience"' for his Australian friend, Todd Brown.

I didn't see the dawn service. I was at home writing an essay. It's not that I didn't want to go: sadly, I didn't think I had the time. I sat at home, listening to the jets roar over Melbourne. Over lunch I read the paper. The Anzac day special was expectedly loaded with articles on the Anzacs, enough articles to really make me feel bad about staying at home.

Not many Australians in my generation (twenty-somethings) know much about Anzac day. A lot of people attend dawn services, watch the Anzac parade, or sport a badge thats been kept in the family; but most don't know exactly why they are doing so, other than the fact that a lot of Australians lost their lives in what is now known as Anzac cove in Europe.

I can't say I'm well-read on the subject myself. My family hasn't lived in Australia for enough generations, and like most people my age, I've never thought to look it up, or even ask. Yet tens of thousands of Australians - part of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, who quickly became known as the Anzacs - died all over Europe fighting for the allied forces some 90 years ago. Australians lost more lives than any other nation in any single battle at Pozieres. But the battle at Gallipoli in Turkey is the most well-known; over 8000 Australians fell that day.

Peter Burness, curator at the Australian War Memorial laments: 'These were ... the biggest battles Australians ever fought and the biggest Australian presence in any theatre up to that time. It was the first time all five divisions of the Australian Army fought together with the New Zealand division alongside.'

Fighting for the allied forces was the single-most righteous, selfless act Australia as a nation as done in history. People lost their lives to help others, and to give Australia a name. If you don't believe they made a name for Australia, believe that they still celebrate Anzac day in the European villages of Villers-Bretonneux, Bullecourt, Ypres and Passchendaele, where Anzac battles were fought. John Huxley at the Age puts it best, when he writes that 'Gallipoli [is] a symbol of Australian tenacity, mateship and self-sacrifice.'

Today, Anzac day serves as a day of pride, and a day for remembering those model citizens who once represented Australia.

I earnestly hope that this time next year, I don't believe I have something better to do on Anzac day, than to attend a dawn service.
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