Particularly at a time when Australian soldiers have again been involved in battles in other parts of the world, the commemoration of Anzac Day this year should not only remember those who have suffered in war but strengthen our conviction that there must be peace in the world.
- "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."
— From the Anzac Day Service
In the early hours of April 25, at various Shrines of Remembrance, cenotaphs and war memorials everywhere in Australia and New Zealand, there is a gathering of the men and women who have gone to war and returned, and with their families and friends gather for a dawn service that heralds the start of another Anzac Day.
This is a day of remembrance — of the deaths and sufferings in war, the valor of fighting men and women, and the ever-present hope for the peoples of the world to live together in harmony and lasting peace.
And, as every Anzac Day service recalls, "at the going down of the sun and in the evening we will remember them."
End of innocence
Anzac Day, a public holiday in Australia and New Zealand, commemorates the landing at Gallipoli in 1915 of the two countries' fighting men, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, during World War I.
This was the war that was impossible to win and marked the end of Australia's age of innocence as Australians and New Zealanders alike witnessed and heard reports of the distant booming guns and the cries of the dying.
All in all, in the Gallipoli Campaign which ultimately ended in defeat, more than 8700 Australians and between 2400 and 2721 New Zealanders were killed. In relation to the two countries' population at the time, this was a massive loss of lives — a sacrifice remembered deeply on Anzac Day.
Note: The Australian death toll figure is from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The larger New Zealand death toll is sourced from New Zealand official figures released in 1932.
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