Saturday, April 25, 2009

Anzac Day

It's Anzac Day here in New Zealand and I've spent much of the day watching remembrance services and documentaries on the Gallipoli campaign. It is a time for remembering our soldiers.

The poppy represents the fallen - it is, I believe, an allusion to the blood soaked fields in Europe during the first World War.

Photo courtesy of FreeFoto

Many thousands of New Zealand and Australian soldiers lost their lives on the beaches of Gallipoli during an ill fated landing in 1916. And many Turkish soldiers lost their lives in the campaign that followed.

After the battles were all ended, Turkish General Kamal Ataturk made this moving and gracious speech about our soldiers who had died there.

"You are heroes who spilled your blood and lost your lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
So, rest in peace.
There is no difference to us between the Allied soldier and the Turkish soldier.
They lie side by side in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, You sent your sons from far away countries.
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying close to our hearts and are in peace.
They lost their lives on our land.
So they have become our sons as well."


Leah J. Utas said...

That is a moving speech. Thanks, Dawn. I know little, okay nothing, about Gallipoli.

solarity said...

I've always loved that speech; if only it really had been the War to End War.

(My father's LST sailed between Brisbane and New Guinea several times. From his memories the Anzacs in that war, at least, have always been real to me.)

Mary Anne in Kentucky

the Bag Lady said...

Thanks for sharing that speech with us, Dawn. It brought tears to my eyes.

Dawn said...

Leah - Gallipoli is seen as a pivotal event here in New Zealand. We entered the WW1 because we were part of the Commonwealth and it was "our duty". But we forged our own identity during the Gallipoli campaign (and a few other disastrous ones!) Nothing like losing a few thousand of your "sons" in one hit to create a sense of national identity! Thousands of kiwi go to the Remembrance service on the beach at Gallipoli each year.

Solarity - Kiwi connections. I love you already!

That speech has always seemed incredibly generous of spirit to me. And the Turkish people really do look after the NZ war graves as if they were their own.

Baggie - Gets me reaching for my hankie everytime too!

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi Dawn,

The is a terrific anti-war sond called "and the band played waltzing Matilda" written in the early '70s and it refers specifically to Gallipoli.

Here's the link to the lyrics if anyone would like to read them.


Thomma Lyn said...

What a lovely speech. It brought tears to my eyes, too.

Dawn said...

Terrie - Thanks for that link. I hadn't heard of that song before. You could remove the word Australia and inset New Zealand and it almost exactly describes the kiwi experience at Gallipoli.

Thomma Lyn - Me too!