Today is the 25th of April, and this time each year, we celebrate Anzac Day in New Zealand. For me, Anzac Day is about tradition. Of wearing our red poppies, for the week or so leading up to Anzac Day. Of waking up early and going down to the local city park to watch the Anzac Parade. It was always a very formal affair. But it had become a traditional thing for us to do. Standing outside in the cold chilly air. A very sombre event. Then later when I went to University, we woke up even earlier. I don’t know how we did it, but Mathew, Rose and a couple of others from Weir House managed to wake up at 4am to walk down the hill to the Anzac dawn parade and service at the cenotaph.
A link with details of the Wellington Dawn Parade can be viewed by clicking <here>. You can see the service from this year, with the you tube video clip below.
What is the history of Anzac Day? What is Anzac Day really all about? There is a brilliant website I found called “ANZAC.GOVT.NZ”. It is a New Zealand government website that is full of resources on the history of Anzac Day. No doubt, this is a real winner with the history students! To visit the Anzac website click <here>.
The Anzac website provides a good description of Anzac Day, and I’ve quoted below:
“On 25 April 1915, eight months into the First World War, Allied soldiers landed on the shores of the Gallipoli peninsula. … The forces from New Zealand and Australia, fighting as part of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), … The Gallipoli campaign was, however, a costly failure for the Allies, who after nine months abandoned it and evacuated their surviving troops. Almost a third of the New Zealanders taking part had been killed; … Anzac Day, the anniversary of the first day of conflict, does not mark a military triumph, it does remind us of a very important episode in New Zealand’s history. Great suffering was caused to a small country by the loss of so many of its young men. But the Gallipoli campaign showcased attitudes and attributes – bravery, tenacity, practicality, ingenuity, loyalty to King and comrades – that helped New Zealand define itself as a nation, even as it fought unquestioningly on the other side of the world in the name of the British Empire.” (Source: http://www.anzac.govt.nz/significance/index.html accessed at 08:27 on 25.04.2012)