Wednesday, April 25, 2012

#1796 ... ANZAC Day

A special remembrance day for Australians, New Zealanders and many others around the world. Although April 25 has little significance outside Australia and New Zealand. On this day in 1915, Allied troops, including the New Zealand and Australian ANZAC Corps, landed on the Gallipoli peninsula in a campaign to capture Constantinople, the present-day Istanbul. They withdrew in defeat 7 months later. It’s a day of national remembrance in both Australia and New Zealand. Casualty rates of 60% on both sides of the conflict, New Zealand led (as it did through the entire first world war) with 70%. Poppies, the symbol of wartime remembrance, feature prominently. These are from a platter by Stephanie Raymond, a French ceramicist. Stirring words from Kemal Attaturk, a commander in the Gallipoli conflict, and the first president of the Turkish Republic, captured on the memorial at Anzac Cove: 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 between the Johnnies 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 bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.

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