ANZAC Day (AU & NZ)
Reported By RET B.Lambert
Australian War Memorial
Anzac Day falls on the 25th of April each year. The 25th of April was officially named Anzac Day in 1916.
'ANZAC' stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. On the 25th of April 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula. These became known as Anzacs and the pride they took in that name continues to this day.
On the morning of 25 April 1915, the Anzacs set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, and an ally of Germany. The Anzacs landed on Gallipoli and met fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. Their plan to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months.
At the end of 1915, the allied forces were evacuated. Both sides suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers were killed. News of the landing on Gallipoli and the events that followed had a profound impact on Australians at home. The 25th of April soon became the day on which Australians remember the sacrifice of those who had died in the war. The Anzacs were courageous and although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australian and New Zealand actions during the campaign left us all a powerful legacy.
With the coming of the Second World War, Anzac Day also served to commemorate the lives of Australians, New Zealanders and the allied who died in that war. The meaning of Anzac Day today includes the remembrance of all Australians killed in military operations.
Anzac Day was first commemorated at the Australian War Memorial in 1942, but it was a small meeting due to government orders that prevented large public gatherings in case of Japanese air attack. Anzac Day has been annually commemorated at the Australian War Memorial ever since. Today, Australians recognise 25th April as an occasion of national commemoration. Commemorative services are held at sunrise, the time of the original landing. During the remainder of the day, ex-servicemen and women meet and join in marches through the main cities and towns. Commemorative ceremonies are held at war memorials around the country. It is a day when Australians reflect on the many different meanings of war.