Today, the 256th of April 2015, is the 100th anniversary of ANZAC here in Australia and New Zealand.
Today we remember the sacrifices given by our servicemen in many and varied conflicts, many who made the supreme sacrifice and laid down their lives so that who are left can enjoy the freedom and liberty so hard-won.
We especially remember those gallant men who stormed the beaches of Anzac Cove at Gallipoli in 1915, and gave their all against a formidable Turkish foe. We remember their endurance and their perseverance to get the job done. And ultimately, we remember the tragic failure of the whole Gallipoli campaign.
It was a turning point as a nation for both Australia and New Zealand, a baptism of fire, a loss of innocence for a young country. Many heroes arose out of this battle, many names becoming those of legend.
ANZAC is synonymous with bravery, stoicism, dogged determination and a drive to succeed. This became a characteristic of all servicemen to follow and is the measure of every “Digger.”
We bow our heads and reflect on their service and their sacrifice.
Who Are These Men
Who are these men that march so proud,
Who quietly weep, eyes closed, head bowed?
These are the men who once were boys,
Who missed out on youth and all of its joys.
Who are these men with aged faces,
Who silently count the empty spaces?
There are the men who gave their all,
Who fought for their country for freedom for all.
Who are these men with sorrowful look
Who can still remember the lives that were took?
These are the men that saw young men die,
The price of peace is always high.
Who are these men who in the midst of pain,
Whispered comfort to those they would not see again?
These are the men whose hands held tomorrow,
Who brought back our future with blood tears and sorrow.
Who are these men who promise to keep
Alive in their hearts the ones God holds asleep?
These are the men to whom I promise again:
“Veterens”, my friends – I will remember them!
This poem was written in 1966 by Jodie Johnson who was 11 years old at the time. The depth of her feeling and understanding for the thoughts of the veterans is unusual for someone so young. I know when I see this sort of understanding by young people, that our future is in good hands.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Lest We Forget
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
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.