Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lest We Forget

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.

Lest We Forget.

Today- April 25, 2014, is the 99th anniversary of the landing of Anzac soldiers at Gallipoli, Turkey during World War I and founded what has become a tradition. As people around the world, from Australia and New Zealand to Turkey and the Western Front in France commemorate those who gave their lives so that we could live free, I decided that today is probably the most appropriate day to share something I wrote for the Archaeology's Dirty Little Secrets course I did last year. I will include the requirements for what I wrote at the start.

Option #2: Bucket list

Sit back and think of what tomb, memorial or battlefield you hope someday to visit. This can be from any time period and from any part of the world. Explain your choice:
  1. Describe the site or location you have chosen.
  2. Explain why you've chosen it.
  3. Provide details on your choice's particular significance, both historically and to you personally.
  4. Include a relevant URL (web address) and/or upload an image* with your assignment, if possible.
Your answer should be between approximately 400 and 750 words.

Originally when I decided to do this option, I had decided to do Hatshepsut's temple at Deir el Bahri- I have been wanting to see that since I studied her in high school. Then I though about a few other places including Auschwitz, but the one I decided on is Anzac Cove at Gallipoli in Turkey. I chose this because it is a place I learned about at school from a very young age and not only is it just a place that has significance in Australian history-it is a place whose significance has spread to become not just about the place, but to become a tradition.

Anzac Cove is a small cove on the Gallipoli Peninsula, where the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) as well as other allied troops landed on April 25 1915, in the midst of World War One. It is only 600 metres long and  It became their main base for many months throughout what became known as the Gallipoli campaign. The campaign itself was launched because of unsuccessful attempts by the Allied forces to force a passage through the Dardanelles Straight. The campaign lasted for 8 months and was ultimately unsuccessful, becoming one of the largest failures for the Allies in the war. At the end of the campaign it has been estimated that over 100,000 soldiers were dead from both sides with at least 10,000 ANZAC troops killed and thousands more injured.

Every year on April 25, in Australia and New Zealand as well as at memorials in places including Gallipoli, France and the United Kingdom, people gather to commemorate those that fell in that campaign as well as in all the wars that those nations have participated in as well as to celebrate the servicemen and women who serve today. Thousands of people attend memorial services as well as marches through the towns. Many people who march, do so in memory of their relatives who have lost their lives and wear the service medals of those relatives.

Today there are 31 Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries on the Gallipoli peninsula, and the Anzac Day memorial service was once held at one of the cemeteries, on one end of the beach. Today there are so many attendees to these services that they have since built an Anzac Commemorative Site nearby to hold future services.

For many Australians in particular, the Gallipoli Campaign is seen as the place where the Australian nation was forged. It was the first major military campaign for Australia after it became an official nation and it has had a great influence over the years. Both nations have a memorial day shared and named originally for those troops, and the Turkish government officially recognised the name Anzac Cove on Anzac Day 1985. Australian and New Zealand troops still operate under the banner of ANZAC today.

For me as an Australian, the history of ANZAC is not just the history of those men who fought at the start of the tradition, but also of all the men who have fought since. It is solemn- for the memory of those who died, but it is celebratory as well. We celebrate the fact that despite the horrors of war and the tragedy, we are able to go on with our lives because of their sacrifice. For me, although I didn't have any relatives(that I know of) in the war, I do have family and friends now, who are or have been part of the defence forces, and my grandparents fled their home nation for a better life and freedom during World War Two. If not for men who fought and continue to fight for the freedom of others, they may never have had that chance. As a teenager, I also was a member of the Australian Navy Cadets. Through that I got the opportunity to participate in many memorial services and marches. One of the moments that I will always remember from those experiences, was having some elderly veterans come up to myself, and some other cadets, to thank us for marching, and thank us for remembering.

For Further reading, please see the links below.