Today, millions of people across Australia, New Zealand and in many other places like Gallipoli in Turkey, in Hyde Park in London and in Villers Bretonneux in France, attended Anzac Day dawn services and parades. My husband and I are in Australia and attended one of hundreds of dawn services held across the country. We enjoyed the service which is held each year in the beautiful quadrangle at Sydney University, and then went downtown to watch the parade.
Anzac Day is Australia and New Zealand’s equivalent of Veterans Day. It’s a day of remembrance of those Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers who have fought and died for their country, and is marked annually on April 25, the anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign of the First World War.
While Anzac Day is set to coincide with the anniversary of the landing in Gallipoli, the day itself is not meant to be a commemoration of the event, but rather the qualities that Australia established for itself there. On Anzac Day, we recognise the courage, mateship, skill, and perseverance of those who have served, fought, and given their lives in the military. On Anzac Day, we show love, honour and support for those who fought to enable freedom for people all over the world. It’s a special day for Australians and the services and marches are very moving and meaningful.
Some ways Anzac Day is commemorated:
Dawn Service. The Dawn Service is one of the most revered and popular ceremonies that takes place on ANZAC Day. 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.
The Last Post
. Often heard at the Dawn Service and other memorials on Anzac Day. The Last Post is the tune that is played over a bugle to signify the end of the day, or the final post. The soldiers could then take their rest. At memorial services, this melody is played to suggest the last post as a metaphor. The soldiers who are being honoured can hear the tune and know that all duties have been completed, so he or she may finally rest in peace.
The Ode for the Fallen
has been recited in Anzac ceremonies since 1919. “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them. Lest we forget”.
A Period of Silence
. Two minutes of silence is held at services and ceremonies as a time of reflection and a sign of respect.
. Throughout the day, cities and towns host marches that feature veterans, members of The Returned & Services League and current service men and woman. Thousands of people gather to give their thanks and respect along the parade routes.
Rosemary is worn and Red Poppies
are placed on war memorials as a symbol of remembrance on Anzac Day. Rosemary is a herb found growing wild on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Poppies grew wild in battlefield in Europe and it was a popular tale among soldiers that the flowers gained their bright red hue from the blood of the fallen.
. These treats had a very practical beginning. During the First World War, the friends and families of soldiers would send care packages overseas. Since any food they could send had to be resistant to spoilage and full of nutrition, a biscuit made from rolled oats, sugar, flour, coconut, and a few other ingredients became a popular pastry to pack in boxes. To this day, Anzac biscuits are one of the few products approved to bear the Anzac acronym, which is protected by Federal legislation.
At Cafe YOU, we are observing and celebrating ANZAC Day with our wonderful Anzac Bikkies – $2.25 per cookie, or 5 for $10. Come and try one, you’ll be hooked!