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ANZAC Day - 25 April - marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. The acronym (ANZAC) stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers quickly became known as ANZACs themselves. The pride they took in that name endures to this day, and ANZAC Day remains one of Australia and New Zealand's most important national occasions.
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ANZAC DAY TURKEY

Anzac Day History

ANZAC DAY INFORMATION

Beginnings of the Memorial Day


ANZAC Day - 25 April - marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. The acronym (ANZAC) stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers quickly became known as ANZACs themselves. The pride they took in that name endures to this day, and ANZAC Day remains one of Australia and New Zealand's most important national occasions.[1]
When war broke out in 1914, Australia had been a Federal Commonwealth for only thirteen years, and 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 to open the way to the Black Sea for the Allied navies. The plan was to capture Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Empire and an ally of Germany. They landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold strike to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stale-mate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian and 2,700 New Zealand soldiers died. News of the landing at Gallipoli made a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders at home and 25 April quickly became the day on which they remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war.
Though the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives of capturing Istanbul and knocking Turkey out of the war, the Australian and New Zealand troops' actions during the campaign bequeathed an intangible but powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as an "ANZAC legend" became an important part of the national identity in both countries. This shaped the ways they viewed both their past and their future.
On 30 April 1915, when the first news of the landing reached New Zealand, a half-day holiday was declared and impromptu services were held. The following year a public holiday was gazetted on 5 April and services to commemorate were organised by the returned servicemen.
The date, 25 April, was officially named ANZAC Day in 1916; in that year it was marked by a wide variety of ceremonies and services in Australia, a march through London, and a sports day in the Australian camp in Egypt. In London, over 2,000 Australian and New Zealand troops marched through the streets of the city. A London newspaper headline dubbed them "The Knights of Gallipoli". Marches were held all over Australia in 1916; wounded soldiers from Gallipoli attended the Sydney march in convoys of cars, accompanied by nurses. For the remaining years of the war, ANZAC Day was used as an occasion for patriotic rallies and recruiting campaigns, and parades of serving members of the AIF were held in most cities. From 1916 onwards, in both Australia and New Zealand, ANZAC services were held on or about 25 April, mainly organised by returned servicemen and school children in cooperation with local authorities.
ANZAC Day was not gazetted as a public holiday in New Zealand until 1921, after lobbying by the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association, the RSA. In Australia at the 1921 State Premiers' Conference, it was decided that ANZAC Day would be observed on 25 April each year. However, it was not observed uniformly in all the States.
One of the traditions of ANZAC Day is the 'gunfire breakfast' (coffee with rum added), which occurs shortly after many dawn ceremonies.
During the 1920s, ANZAC Day became established as a National Day of Commemoration for the 60,000 Australians and 18,000 New Zealanders who died during the war. The first year in which all the States observed some form of public holiday together on ANZAC Day was 1927. By the mid-1930s, all the rituals now associated with the day — dawn vigils, marches, memorial services, reunions, sly two-up games — were firmly established as part of ANZAC Day culture. With the coming of the Second World War, ANZAC Day became a day on which to commemorate the lives of Australians and New Zealanders lost in that war as well and in subsequent years, the meaning of the day has been further broadened to include those killed in all the military operations in which the countries have been involved.
ANZAC Day was first commemorated at the Australian War Memorial in 1942, but due to government orders preventing large public gatherings in case of Japanese air attack; it was a small affair and was neither a march nor a memorial service. ANZAC Day has been annually commemorated at the Australian War Memorial ever since.
Australians and New Zealanders recognise 25 April as a ceremonial occasion. Commemorative services are held at dawn, the time of the original landing, across both nations. Later in the day, ex-servicemen and women meet and join in marches through the major cities and many smaller centers. Commemorative ceremonies are held at war memorials around both countries. It is a day when Australians and New Zealanders reflect on the many different meanings of war.


DAWN SERVICE


Flags on the Wellington cenotaph for the 2007 Dawn Service. Note the flags of New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia (left to right)
The dawn service on ANZAC Day has become a solemn Australian and New Zealand tradition. It is taken for granted as part of the ANZAC ethos and few wonder how it all started. Its story, as it were, is buried in a small cemetery carved out of the bush some kilometres outside the northern Queensland town of Herberton.
Almost paradoxically, one grave stands out by its simplicity. It is covered by protective white-washed concrete slab with a plain cement cross at its top end. No epitaph recalls even the name of the deceased. The inscription on the cross is a mere two words - "A Priest".
No person would identify the grave as that of a dedicated clergyman who created the Dawn Service, without the simple marker placed next to the grave only in recent times. It reads:
"Adjacent to, and on the right of this marker, lies the grave of the late Reverend Arthur Ernest White, a Church of England clergyman and padre, 44th Battalion, First Australian Imperial Force. On 25th April 1923, at Albany in Western Australia, the Reverend White led a party of friends in what was the first-ever observance of a Dawn Service on ANZAC Day, thus establishing a tradition which has endured, Australia wide ever since."
Reverend White was serving as one of the padres of the earliest ANZACs to leave Australia with the First AIF in November 1914. The convoy was assembled in the Princess Royal Harbour and King George Sound at Albany WA. Before embarkation, at four in the morning, he conducted a service for all the men of the battalion. When Reverend White returned to Australia in 1919, he was appointed receiving Rector of the St John's Church in Albany. It was a strange coincidence that the starting point of the AIF convoys should now become his parish.
No doubt it must have been the memory of his first dawn service those many years earlier and his experiences overseas, combined with the awesome cost of lives and injuries, which inspired him to honour permanently the valiant men (both living and the dead) who had joined the fight for the Allied cause. "Albany", he is quoted to have said, "was the last sight of land these ANZAC troops saw after leaving Australian shores and some of them never returned. We should hold a service (here) at the first light of dawn each ANZAC Day to commemorate them."
So on ANZAC Day 1923 he came to hold the first commemorative dawn service.
As the sun was rising, a man in a small dinghy cast a wreath into King George Sound while Reverend White, with a band of about 20 men gathered around him on the summit of nearby Mount Clarence, silently watched the wreath floating out to sea. He then quietly recited the words: "As the sun rises and goeth down, we will remember them". All present were deeply moved and news of the Ceremony soon spread throughout the country; and the various Returned Service Communities Australia wide emulated the ceremony.

After the First World War, returned soldiers sought the comradeship they felt in those quiet, peaceful moments before dawn. With symbolic links to the dawn landing at Gallipoli, a dawn stand-to or dawn ceremony became a common form of ANZAC Day remembrance during the 1920s. The first official dawn service was held at the Sydney Cenotaph in 1927. Dawn services were originally very simple and followed the operational ritual; in many cases they were restricted to veterans only. The daytime ceremony was for families and other well-wishers and the dawn service was for returned soldiers to remember and reflect among the comrades with whom they shared a special bond. Before dawn the gathered veterans would be ordered to "stand-to" and two minutes of silence would follow. At the end of this time a lone bugler would play "The Last Post" and then concluded the service with "Reveille". In more recent times the families and young people have been encouraged to take part in dawn services, and services in Australian capital cities have seen some of the largest turnouts ever. Reflecting this change, the ceremonies have become more elaborate, incorporating hymns, readings, pipers and rifle volleys. Others, though, have retained the simple format of the dawn stand-to, familiar to so many soldiers.
Each year the commemorations follow a pattern that is familiar to generations of Australians. A typical ANZAC Day service contains the following features: introduction, hymn, prayer, an address, lying of wreaths, recitation, the playing of "The Last Post", a minute of silence, "Reveille", and the playing of both New Zealand and Australian national anthems. At the Australian War Memorial, following events such as the ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day services, families often place red poppies beside the names of relatives on the Memorial's Roll of Honour. In Australia sprigs of rosemary are often worn on lapels [2]and in New Zealand poppies have taken on this role.


 
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