Anzac Day - Lest We Forget
Most New Zealanders and Australians have probably heard of Anzac Day, and probably enjoy their half-day off, but do all of them actually know what Anzac Day really is?
Anzac Day (which stands for Australia New Zealand Army Corps Day), an occasion annually celebrated on the 25th of April, is a day set to remember the soldiers who have fought in wars participated by Australia and New Zealand.
Anzac Day was originally held to celebrate the anniversary of the first campaign that led to major casualties for New Zealand and Australian forces, in 1915, during the First World War. This was known as the Gallipoli Landing, in which the goal was to knock out the Ottoman Empire of Turkey out of the war. However they landed to meet the fierce resistance from the Ottoman Army and many lives were lost during this extremely costly battle, for both sides, which dragged on for 8 months. The Allied forces then withdrew from the Peninsula failing to reach their goal. Over one hundred thousand of soldiers lost their lives in the Gallipoli campaign, 87,000 of them Ottoman Turks and 44,000 Allied Forces, of which 8500 were Australians and 2721 were New Zealanders.
On the 30th of April 1915, when the news of the landing reached New Zealand, a half-day holiday was declared. Some, but not all, Australian States also recognised this same holiday, but it wasn’t until 1916 that Anzac Day was declared a public holiday celebrated by a half-day holiday in both New Zealand and Australia. The people of these two nations began organising vigils at dawn which has led to the common dawn service that we find today.
However, soon after the Anzac Rituals had become more of a norm, the Second World War broke out. After this even more horrific loss of lives, the Anzac celebrations on Anzac Day started to become quite different to what it had been just ten years ago. Now the rituals on the day, like the dawn services and morning marches, celebrated not only World War I,...