Thursday, April 26, 2007

ANZAC Day

Yesterday was ANZAC day in Australia and New Zealand. I was going to post this but I never seemed to get any time in front of the family computer. Busy day.

ANZAC Day is a national holiday commemorating all the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who landed at Gallipoli in World War I. It is also a national holiday in Fiji. The poor buggers that were sent half way around the world were mowed over.

On a cliff overlooking the Dardanelles where the most gruesome battles of Gallipoli were fought is a monument to the fallen soldiers. On it is a quotation from Attaturk who some say is the founder of modern Turkey. I can't read it out loud without my voice cracking. I still get a lump in my throat when reading it silently.

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives. . . You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore, rest in peace. There is no difference to us between the ‘Johnnies’ and the ‘Mehmets,’ where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. . . You, the mothers, who sent your sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.” -- M. Kemal Ataturk


We don't have any ancestors that fought in that particular theatre of war during the First World War but if we had then this memorial would be very comforting to me.

3 comments:

Joe said...

Peggy, thanks for remembering this.

Claude said...

Do you know the beautiful song, sung by the Dubliners

And the band played Waltzing Matilda

When the ship pulled away from the quay

And amid all the tears, flag waving and cheers

We sailed off for Gallipoli



It well I remember that terrible day

When our blood stained the sand and the water

And how in that hell they call Suvla Bay

We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter

Johnny Turk, he was ready, he primed himself well

He rained us with bullets, and he showered us with shell

And in five minutes flat, we were all blown to hell

He nearly blew us back home to Australia


only an extract, but it says so much about those terrible days

Peggy said...

Claude - I met the guy who wrote that song last year, or the year before. The imagery in the song is heartbreaking.

It is stuff like this that makes me worried for my own boys.