Lest we forget

ANZAC Day is a day of remembrance.

At dawn on 25th April, 1915 a contingent of Australian and New Zealand Soldiers (ANZAC) landed on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula and it was planned that they and other Allied troops would put Turkey, who had joined Germany against the Allies, out of World War I. Horrific battles ensued, but the Turks were unable to evict the Allies and the Allies were unable to overcome the Turkish defences.

In December 1915, the Allies commenced to withdraw, having suffered heavy casualties. It was with this landing that there began to emerge the tradition of ANZAC with the ideals of mateship and sacrifice that distinguish and unite all Australians irrespective of their origins.

ANZAC Day, the 25th of April each year, is the day Australia commemorates with services and marches in cities and towns and throughout the world where servicemen, servicewomen and peacekeepers are stationed, to remember all those who lost their lives in service to their country, in all wars.

Will We Remember Them

Or will we just enjoy the Public Holiday…

I’m personally inspired by the way our toastmaster members observe the ode which is played at 6pm every night at our meeting venue, the Parramatta RSL club, even though the ode is not always broadcast through to our room as the lights flicker Parramatta Toastmasters already in the room stand with heads bowed to pay respect to those who lost their lives in service. For the newly arrived residents to our country that are present at that time and are not sure what is happening you will notice a toastmaster encourage them to take part and explain the tradition of the ode.

Which brings me to my point will you join in the ANZAC day celebrations using your toastmaster skills to share the tradition and understanding with others?  At the very least pause, on April 25th, will you explain to someone new to our shores why we observe this day?  I have done this  many times and find that newcomers to our shores are both interested and willing to take part in this very significant tradition and show of respect. 

At the very least my hope is you just take a minute on the 25th Anzac Day, stand alone or with those around you and remember those who gave their lives so we may enjoy freedom. 

Anzac Day has been commemorated continuously in Australia since 1916 through dawn services, parades and get-togethers with mates and beer. In recent years its popularity with Australians of all ages and origins has increased.

Australians are enthusiastic about the importance of recognising and being thankful for the sacrifices of all those who have defended Australia and its interests, so let’s all join in the celebrations and remember.

Dawn Services and Anzac Day Parades

Dawn services, wreath laying ceremonies and Anzac Day Parades are held in all cities all around Australia. You can find information about what’s on in all major cities through your local RSL branch.

Anzac biscuits

There’s just something about the crunch and oaty goodness of a fair dinkum Anzac biscuit. Get right into the spirit and enjoy a couple with a cuppa or share a batch with friends & family.

Raise a Glass

The VB Raise a Glass Appeal has raised almost $4 million for the welfare programs of the RSL and Legacy since its inception in 2009. Organisers encourage people to raise a glass of your favourite tipple for our service men and women past and present and you are able to donate to the appeal.

Two-Up

While no-one is exactly sure of the origins of Australia’s national gambling game it is certain that it was played by Australian soldiers during World War 1 and was a highly popular illegal betting activity until the 1950’s. Because of its association with Diggers it’s been traditionally played on Anzac Day, usually with a blind eye being turned to the illegality. The NSW Gambling (Two-Up) Act 1998 made it legal to play two-up on Anzac Day.

All you’ll need is a flat piece of wood (the kip) and two pennies (ideally sized and weighted to spin when tossed) to place on it. Bets are placed on the possible outcomes of each toss – Heads (two heads facing up), Tails (two tails facing up) or Odds (one heads up, one tails up). Come in Spinner! If you’re feeling particularly patriotic you could donate your winnings to the Raise a Glass Appeal. 

Australian Light Horsemen

Visit the website of the Australian Light Horse Association Ltd, a non-profit organisation, whose aim is to preserve the history and tradition of the Australian Light Horse and its predecessors. The site is dedicated to the Australian Light Horse Regiments, and the Light Horsemen who served their country in both war and peace, and contains both historical and current information on famous regiments and famous battles, as well as information on both ordinary soldiers and commanders, existing Military Units, current Re-enactment Troops, and Light Horse Museums.

Watch Gallipoli

A huge critical and commercial success for Australian director Peter Weir and featuring Mel Gibson’s breakout performance, Gallipoli tells the story of two idealistic young soldiers and their experiences at Gallipoli. It remains an Australian classic.

The Ode

Whatever way you choose to commemorate Anzac Day it should surely include a recitation of the simple but poignant The Ode, the fourth stanza of Laurence Binyon’s poem “For the Fallen”:

“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.”

Fellow members of the human race…

Lest we forget.

Robyn Peck

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One Response to Lest we forget

  1. Pingback: Random Note #7 | Rafferty's Rules

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