Saturday, April 25, 2009

Salute to all the Brave!!!!

Anzac Day is a national public holiday in Australia and New Zealand, and is commemorated by both countries on 25 April every year to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I and also to commemorate the soilders who fought in France and Belgium. Anzac Day is also observed in the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tonga.

Tens of thousands of people have attended Anzac Day dawn services around Australia and New Zealand .

The traditional service commemorates the 94th anniversary of Australian and New Zealand troops landing at Gallipoli during World War One.

On that first day, 2,000 Anzacs were killed or wounded.

The Anzac ceremony also pays tribute to all Australians who have served their country in war.

Chaplain Collin Acton from the Royal Australian Navy delivered the service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra as the crowd stood silently in the dark.

"Today we remember the courage and patriotism of men and women who have resisted oppression and fought for freedom, we thank you for the gift to us and for their fine example that they have set," he said.

"The story of ANZAC touches a deep part in us all. It is a story of sacrificial living and giving and loving."

Organisers say 20,000 people, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Governor-General Quentin Bryce, were there for the service.

Ms Bryce will address the ANZAC day national ceremony later today.

More are expected to join the Anzac Day march and national service at 10:30am.

War Memorial director Steve Gower says the ceremony is a chance to reflect on the sacrifices of those who have fought and died for Australia.

"Also, pause to think about what's known as the Anzac spirit, that still has relevance to this day: mateship, not letting your friends down, stoic acceptance of your circumstances, high spirits, bravery and courage.

"So it's a very Australian ceremony, the dawn service."

Mr Gower says increasing numbers of people are attending the service, with 30,000 making the early start last year.

"It's full of rich Australian ambience," he said. "In the darkness you gather, as the dawn starts you see with whom you're standing.

"Sometimes you get raucous flights of galahs and sulphur crested cockatoos flying across."

He says there will be a national commemorative ceremony later this morning, but the dawn service is particularly significant.

"The significance goes back to 1915 on the 25th of April, when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps went ashore in the pre-dawn darkness on the shore there at Anzac Cove, or what came to be known as Anzac Cove," he said.
Excerpt from YAHOO7  

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