- Published on Saturday 23 April, 2016
- 3 min. read
ANZAC Day – 25 April – is a major milestone in Australia’s history. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
On April 2016 we mark the 101st anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli. The First World War helped define us as a people and as a nation.
During the ANZAC Centenary we will remember not only the original ANZACs who served Gallipoli and the Western Front, but commemorate more than a century of service by Australian servicemen and women.
What is ANZAC Day?
ANZAC is the acronym formed from the initial letters of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, the formation into which Australian and New Zealand soldiers were grouped in Egypt prior to the landing at Gallipoli in April 1915.
101 years ago, thousands of brave young men went ashore on a foreign beach in a far distant land. In a display of courage, determination and mateship, these Australians and New Zealanders – including Indigenous Australians and New Zealanders – created a legend which, when retold today, evokes pride and passion in a new generation of Australians.
Why is ANZAC day special to Australians?
When war broke out in 1914, Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only 13 years. The new national government was eager to establish its reputation among the nations of the world. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany.
The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders.
Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australian and New Zealand actions – – including those of Indigenous Australians and New Zealanders – during the campaign left us all a powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as the “ANZAC legend” became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the ways they viewed both their past and their future.
The ANZAC dawn service
A dawn service is an operational routine still observed by the Australian Army today. Half an hour or so before daylight and at sunset is known as ‘stand-to’ by the military. It became common to gather together to remember ANZAC at dawn and to particularly share a moment of silence, when the last post is played.
The Last Post
The Last Post historically has been used to signify the end of the day. It is played at the ANZAC ceremony as a tribute to the dead.
On the 101st anniversary of ANZAC Day – 25th April – MEGT staff remember to reflect on the sacrifice of Australians and New Zealanders – including Indigenous Australians and New Zealanders.
The ANZAC legacy, when retold today, still evokes pride and passion.
Lest we forget
Lest we forget is a term we use at ANZAC Day and for other ceremonies to recognise the sacrifice of Australians and New Zealanders. You will see it on wreaths, on memorials and on information about ANZAC Day and hear people say it in response to the Ode of Remembrance. We will remember them. [source: awm.gov.au]