Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Anzac Day 2006
This is just a smallish RSL one, and yet the crowds increase every year, as is happening right around the country. This is the most 'military' I can remember it being - catafalque guards with guns, three attended flagpoles.
I seem to get brought to tears on Anzac Day so easily: the plaintive cadences of the Last Post, the riderless horse in the Sydney march, the ageing WW2 veterans, children and adults in the march wearing the medals of their fathers and grandfathers and uncles, a Turkish soldier at Gallipoli's dawn service declaiming the words of Ataturk, that "your sons have become our sons" and above all, the faces of marchers, of people in the crowd, none needing any words to express so many thoughts and emotions.
If you're reading this not knowing what Anzac Day is, it's the most meaningful day in the Australian year, marking the landing of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers at Gallipoli in 1915. After months of miserable trench warfare, the Turks prevailed - with much respect on both sides. It now commemorates those who have served Australia overseas in war and peacekeeping, and the Anzacs as embodying the best aspects of the Australian character.
For an historical account, the recent documentary Gallipoli by Tolga Ornek is brilliant, or for a fictitious version, Peter Weir's 1981 film, Gallipoli.