Dili Travel Blog› entry 75 of 86 › view all entries
I got up at 4.45am to prepare for the dawn service.
ANZAC day is an important day for Kiwis and Australians as we remember those who died fighting in the trenches of Gallipoli in the first world war. There are not too many of those men left alive now (in fact I believe the last of NZ’s veterans of that campaign died within the past 6 months) but as the numbers of old soldiers marching in the annual parades has dwindled they have been replaced by their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
All around the world the 25th of April unites Kiwis and Aussies alike, Grand Dad’s medals are polished and worn with pride as families stand together in rememberance.
We drove to the H-Pod army base and were
formed into ranks alongside the Aussia and Turkish UN Police.
I have attended many ANZAC Day parades as a scout in my teenage years. I have even lead the parade in my patrol car to ensure traffic was blocked for those marching along the streets but this has been the first dawn parade I have been a participant in. It was especially meaningful that we should all be on an overseas deployment, working in a peacekeeping role in a country that could well erupt into conflict were we not here.
The service was like any other religious service; prayers, hymns, readings… The traditional portions of poems were read and wreaths laid by the ambassadors of our two countries. I was pleased from the outset that the Turkish contingent was here to participate. Many of the UNPOL are good friends now and I see it as imperative that we put the past conflicts behind us and embrace each other now that war is over. If we do not learn from such folly we risk repeating it.
In his address, the Commander of the ISF related that ANZAC Day is not a celebration of victory; the campaign was badly managed by the British commanders and the ANZACs were left without support on an impregnable beach, losing hundreds of soldiers in a matter of days; but it is a reflection of strength and unity, when our two nations fought against impossible odds, cementing the “Spirit of the ANZACs” and our countries ties for eternity.
The flags were raised, we had a moment of quiet reflection and then the 3 black hawk helicopters completed a fly-over before we all fell out to enjoy breakfast together.