What is ANZAC Day
ANZAC Day, every 25th of April, is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
History of ANZAC Day
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as Anzacs, and the pride they took in that name endures to this day.
When war broke out in 1914 Australia had been a federated nation for only 13 years, and its government was eager to establish a reputation among the nations of the world. When Britain declared war in August 1914 Australia was automatically placed on the side of the Commonwealth. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany.
5 Interesting Facts About ANZAC Day
- The Last Post was typically played during the war to tell soldiers the day’s fighting had finished. At memorial services, it symbolises that the duty of the dead has finished, and they can rest in peace.
- ANZAC biscuits were believed to have made an appearance during the Gallipoli offensive. Made of oats, sugar, flour, coconut, butter, and golden syrup, they were hard and long-lasting and were ideal for troops in the trenches. They were apparently eaten instead of bread.
- While the battle itself was a crushing defeat, the Australian and New Zealand soldiers were relentless and displayed incredible courage and endurance, even despite the most horrible of circumstances. This is how the ANZAC legend was born.
- A soldier named Alec Campbell was the last surviving ANZAC. He died on 16 May 2002.
- The ANZACs were all volunteers.
Celebration of ANZAC Day
Australians recognise 25 April as a day of national remembrance, which takes two forms. Commemorative services are held across the nation at dawn – the time of the original landing, while later in the day, former servicemen and servicewomen meet to take part in marches through the country’s major cities and in many smaller centres.
Commemorative ceremonies are more formal and are held at war memorials around the country. In these ways, Anzac Day is a time at which Australians reflect on the many different meanings of war.
Traditions include the laying of wreaths, hymns, the sounding of the Last Post by a solo trumpet, the observance of one minute’s silence, and the national anthems of New Zealand and Australia. The Red Poppy symbolises peace, death, and sleep of the fallen servicemen/woman. Traditionally, Rosemary is worn on ANZAC Day; however, the Poppy has become popular through the generations and is also widely worn on both ANZAC Day.
A popular venue to visit on this day are the Surf Life Saving Clubs around Australia.
Lest We Forget.