Anzac Day – An Overview

Celebrated across Australia and New Zealand on 25th of April, the Anzac day is to honor those who gave their lives in the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. While the war itself was not victorious, thousands lost their lives defending their country and this day is in commemoration of them. The acronym ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps which was formed during the World War I. The day also remarked the beginning of a new nation by the name of New Zealand.

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About Anzac day

During the First World War, the Australia and NZ were under the rule of the British Empire. In the year 1915, the British army along with its allied troops set out to capture the Peninsula at Gallipoli which will open the way to Black seas for the navy to embark on. The idea was to ensure that the capital city of the then Ottoman empire, Constantinople is captured. However well the campaign was planned, it lasted for more than eight months and by the end of it, both the sides lost lot of lives and there were many casualties too. Nearly 21k soldiers gave their lives from the Allied force, of which nearly 8k was Australians and 2k was from New Zealand.

Despite the attempt being a failure, the legacy of both the armies, the Australian and the New Zealand, has carried on for their brave fight. This gave birth to the Anzac Day, a remembrance day celebrated by two different countries commemorating the same event, honoring the ANZACs (the army corps from Australia and New Zealand).

Over the years, the day has been thought of as a commemoration of those who laid their lives for the country in other wars including the World War II, the Vietnam War, etc. The celebration did suffer a set back during the Vietnam War but it has recently gained momentum again among the citizens of both nations.

The day has evolved since its initial celebration in 1916 and recently just had its 100th celebration last month. The celebration starts with a dawn service in honor of all the soldiers and others who have served over the years in many different wars.  The service is followed by a march of the veterans across the nation, coordinated by the RSL (Returned and Services League) of Australia. This march sees many service men and women from various parts of the nation, who have served the country over the years, coming together. The day concludes with Last Post ceremony which commences with the national anthems, visitors paying respects to the soldiers, an ode to all those who laid their lives for the nation and finally the last post sounding to end the ceremony.

Another interesting fact on Anzac day is the Anzac biscuits. These are biscuits made of sugar, flour, butter, rolled oats, boiling water and gluten and it is said that the wives of the soldiers made them and sent across for their husbands who are fighting for their motherland.

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