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ANZAC Day - 25th April
All around the world Anzac Day is celebrated on the 25th day of April.
"Anzac" is an acronym signifying the joint force of the "Australian and New Zealand Army Corps" and was originally coined to mean someone who took part at Gallipoli but over the years it has come to mean any Australian or New Zealander who has seen action in any theater.
Anzac Day the 25th April, is a day set aside each and every year on which we can commemorate the lives lost in wartime regardless of the side.
War itself is not being honored here, in Anzac Day marches and services we see men and women that were once enemies marching side by side to honor their fallen mates.
Personally I abhor war and the waste of human life and resources but I can honor the men and women that have fallen defending what they thought was correct.
My father saw service in the first world war and he can be seen proudly marching in the Anzac Day March, along Swanston Street in Melbourne the year would have been around 1955.
Although he spoke very rarely of his war experiences I do know that he was proud of belonging to the small group of soldiers dubbed the "Old Contemptibles" by a top ranking German Officer.
Anzac Day was the one day in the year on which he could get with his old buddies and chat about times that they had shared.
Although he 'never' discussed with us his experiences during the war, this was one time of the year that he took great care. He would lay out his 'Sunday' best suit, polish up his Medals and his shoes and head off very early in the morning to meet his mates. We may not see him again until the next day.
The Ode and The Last Post
At dawn on Anzac Day 25th day of April every year, people gather in groups all around the world reaching from the Suburbs of New Zealand, Australia, England wherever there is an Aussie or a Kiwi .
One of the largest services is held at the beach of Gallipoli , where the spirit of the Anzac first came to light.
Many Australians and New Zealanders, some old, some young, many relatives of the fallen, and Government officials, make the trek to this place, which has been turned into a Monument to the fallen troops of both sides of the combat. I have never been there but I have been told by some that once you have experienced this Dawn Service you will never forget the atmosphere created during this sombre service!
And when they gather they hear the prayers for lost ones and a reading of the Ode then finally the sad refrain of the Last Post.
From the Fallen
The Ode :
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.
The line "Lest we forget" is then added by those listening.
The Image is a picture belonging to F.Hurley and taken in 1941 near Hammana. The Battalion bugler playing the Last Post as the troops return to their camp.
ANZAC Day in Melbourne
Officially there is no entertainment allowed in the mornings of this day but afternoons is a completely different matter.
Australian Rules Football: What has become now a traditional match between Collingwood (Magpies) and Essendon (Bombers) both suburbs of Melbourne.
This game generally attracts crowds of close on 100,000 spectators, all ready to let out the pent up emotions of the mornings commemorative service. This match is opened solemnly with a small commemoration and at the end of the game a medal is awarded to the most brave player.
Two-up : this game invented by Aussies ( I know the Kiwis will argue differently) involves the spinning of two 'Pennies' thrown in the air from a small board and bets are taken on which way the Pennies will land. This game once declared illegal (government could not take their grab from the illegal two-up schools) can now officially be played only on ANZAC Day. Don't we have some great things here in Australia?
Before the big game starts there are ceremonies to commerate the day as a special one and to honor the fallen men and women to whom we owe so much.
The Photo was taken at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in 2006 at the Anzac Day AFL Football match between Essendon and Collingwood during the pre game entertainment.
The Last Post
- Official Rules for playing > Two-up
If you want to play Two-Up here are the official rules, according to the Government of New South Whales .
- ANZAC Day | australia.gov.au
An article about why Australians and New Zealanders commemorate ANZAC Day on 25 April each year, the anniversary of the day on which the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (the ANZACs) landed at Gallipoli in 1915 during the First World War