April 25, 2007

ANZAC Day, 2007

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
—John McCrae

Source: Australian War Memorial's Commemoration customs of ANZAC Day, April 25th.
⇒ ANZAC Day - 25 April - is probably Australia's most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as ANZACs, and the pride they soon took in that name endures to this day.

When war broke out in 1914 Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only fourteen years. The new national government was eager to establish its reputation among the nations of the world. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula to open the way to the Black Sea for the allied navies. The plan was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul), capital of the Ottoman Empire and an ally of Germany. They landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish defenders.
See: Australian War Memorial The Anzac Day Tradition [Australian War Memorial]

⇒ On this Anzac Day, April 25, 2007, I honor the memory of my Uncle Fred, my Mom's brother, who served in the RAAF during World War II and his service to Australia. Years later on a visit to the states, Uncle Fred and my Dad (who served in the US Army in the Pacific Theater) comparing notes discovered that they had been in the same place in New Guinea at the same time during the War. A small world indeed!
⇒ I also honor the service of all the men and women who served in the defence of Australia, particularly the RAN naval officers and RAN public servants I had the privilege of serving with in the late 1980's at Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC.

Posted by niganit at April 25, 2007 7:00 AM
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