Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Anzac Day: Lest we forget

Today Australian and New Zealand communities all
over the world join together for ANZAC Day.

In 2015 we joined the ANZAC DAY dawn service at Kranji War Cemetery.
Two years later to the day we find ourselves back in Singapore.
Today is a work day and not a holiday here
so I am reposting as I join in saying
'Lest we forget'


Our service was held at the Kranji War Memorial Cemetery, Singapore,
 hosted by the Australian and New Zealand High Commissioners.

We weren't alone, we left our hotel at 5.30am,
 and arrive in a steady convoy of taxis, 
it's way too early for the trains!

We walk in silence.

The 4,500 gravestones at Kranji, 
emerge from the shadows
in silent observation of events.


Once there, it is a well organised, dignified affair.
Public to the left and right,
official guests and dignitaries, straight up the middle.

The Anzac Day dawn service is the same the world over;
a military order, school children and scouts,
national anthems, wreath layers from all walks of life
and usually a slightly dodgy bugler or bagpipe players,
and despite the former, a haunting last post.
Followed by an uplifting Gunfire Breakfast.


We love the familiarity.
Even though we are new Australian citizens,
the ANZAC dawn service is now something we do!

Last year Hong Kong, this year Singapore,
I whisper to my husband
'Let's make sure 2016 is somewhere good too!'

We know our service here in Singapore 
will mirror services already held in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland. 
The same words will be spoken for the 10,000 people 
who have made the journey over to Gallipoli, Turkey
in this the centenary year.


By 5.45 am it is standing room only.
No-one complains.
 A warm, muggy Singapore day breaks,
Whilst the School choir launch into 'Always Remember', 
the birds chirp their own loud dawn chorus from in the trees.
Swifts stretch their wings,
swooping and diving as if excited to see us.


So what is this day that we are celebrating 
and why do we celebrate 
what the BBC describes as a military disaster?!

Anzac Day is one of those days that our friends from far off lands 
often know very little about. 
But for Aussies and Kiwis it is an important 
national day of remembrance, 
a day in which the ANZAC spirit was forged.


ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day 
is the anniversary of the landing of troops from Australia and New Zealand 
on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey, in World War I on April 25, 1915. 
The bravery of all military personnel who participated in this campaign 
and the lives of those who died in all military actions are remembered.

ANZAC day is celebrated Australia-wide,
we even get a day's holiday in Victoria,
provided April 25th does not fall on a weekend.



We stand side by side with war veterans, 
with current servicemen and women,
with families remembering their lost ones
Parents take their children to learn, to experience,
to join an important commemoration from the Homeland.
Not to be missed.


We all reflect on the tragedy, 
the sacrifice and waste of war.
This seems particularly poignant in 2015,
the centenary of Anzac Day.


Away from all the action as the chairs are being tidied away
a small gecko suns himself on the top of a tombstone.
He carries his own war wound, his tail damaged.

I sit with him and wonder if the world is learning.
In recent days, 
we see news headlines of an alleged terrorist plot to attack 
Anzac Day proceedings in my home city, Melbourne.

Our Premier Daniel Andrews urged Victorians
to join in the ANZAC Dawn Services.
To commemorate ANZAC Day and sacrifices made,
 so that we can live a free life.


We listened, we turned out in record numbers this year across the globe.
We pay tribute to all those who have served.
Lest we forget

If you enjoyed this post you might enjoy Anzac Day 2014 in Hong Kong




What do we remember on Anzac Day?
This is a potential question on the Australian citizenship test
  • A) The landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove
  • B) The arrival of the first free settlers from Great Britain
  • C) The landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli, Turkey
Answer: C) 

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