April 25th, 2007

Lest we forget

Today is ANZAC Day (for the Aussies). One of the good things about being a Kiwi (or an Aussie) in Beijing is that the New Zealand and Australian embassies take turns to host an ANZAC Day dawn parade each year. I was planning on attending this year, but I wound up having to give a test at 8:30 this morning, so I thought I’d better not. Anyway, it’s an important day in the calendar for Australia, New Zealand and Turkey, perhaps the most important for Australia and New Zealand. I’m not going to get all pious or sanctimonious or any other kind of -ous on you, don’t worry, but I do think I should do something to mark ANZAC Day.

"Those heroes that shed their blood
 and lost their lives...
 You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country,
 therefore ret in peace.
 There is no difference between the Jonnies
 and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side.
 Here in this country of ours...
 You, the mothers, 
 who sent their sons from far away countries
 wipe away your tears.
 Your sons are now lying in our bossom
 and are in peace.
 After having lost their lives on this land they have 
 become our sons as well."

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk,

ANZAC Memorial, 1934

It’s already approaching evening in New Zealand as I write this, so most of the ceremonies will have been done. Here’s a few articles about events around New Zealand from the NZ Herald:

Your ANZAC Day pictures (for that you’ll have to click ‘view photos’, to the right of the non-article)

Some disgusting behaviour. I hope the bastards who did this get what’s coming to them.

Apparently Helen Clark doesn’t do dawn parades. I would sympathise if she wasn’t the Prime Minister.

‘Last Post’ time for reflection, not tears.

The Dawn Service at Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Record turnout in Christchurch.

Mt Maunganui.

Hayley Westenra (apparently) drew the crowds in Wellington. Unfortunately some idiot anti-war protestors thought they’d disrupt things.

New Zealand’s politicians tend to scatter around the world on ANZAC Day. Defence Minister Phil Goff observed ANZAC Day with the 122 New Zealand Defence force personnel based in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton was at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Hodgaya, Japan (trusting the NZ Herald for the spelling of that place name). Although this article doesn’t mention them, Leader of the Opposition John Key attended the Wellington Ceremony, and I presume Prime Minister Helen Clark is at Gallipolli.

The Herald has a more comprehensive round up here. has the following:

Thousands remember on 92nd ANZAC Day.

Exchange student to represent Turkey at ANZAC ceremony.

And that’s about it. Quite pathetic coverage, really.

Google news.

The Prime Minister’s and Governor General’s ANZAC Day messages can be found here.

That’s about all the news I can find right now. No doubt there will be more, later. So let me just add a personal thought or two:

ANZAC Day is not a glorification of war. We have ANZAC Day so that we remember those who have fought and died for us. Regardless of the real causes of each war, our soldiers believed in what they were doing and they fought well, with honour and courage, fighting for their mates alongside them and their country far away. We must remember them and their sacrifice.

And we must remember so that we do not repeat the past. We remember the horrors of war and the suffering of our soldiers. We will not inflict that needlessly on the generations who follow.

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.

-Laurence Binyon,

For the Fallen

We will remember them.

6 Responses to “ANZAC Day”

  1. Matt Schiavenza Says:

    I love the Ataturk quote, by the way. I first encountered it in Turkey, which I visited just a few weeks after ANZAC Day in 2004.

  2. wangbo Says:

    I have got to get to Turkey one of these days. A pilgrimage to Gallipolli has been high on my to-do list for ages.

  3. Alvin Wong Says:

    you might wan to check out a Singaporean reflection on ANZAC day. cheers!

  4. wangbo Says:

    Thanks, Alvin, that was interesting to see.

  5. Otterman Says:

    Singaporeans remember too:

  6. wangbo Says:

    Good to see Singapore taking part as well. I had no idea is ANZAC Day was so big there too.