Friday, April 25, 2008

We will remember them

Its ANZAC day here in New Zealand, and for those of you out there who don't know what its about, its the day we remember all the Australian and New Zealand armed forces who have fought for our countries. The ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) troops fought in Gallipoli, Turkey during World War 1, and is remembered for being one of the worst planned attacks by British and Commonwealth forces in history. Both sides lost over 140,000 men over during the period 25 April 1915 to 9 January 1916. The picture to the left is ANZAC Cove in Turkey where we gather every year to honour those on both sides who made the supreme sacrifice.

Personally, I don't condone war as an answer to anything. But I also don't judge those in our history who chose to fight for what they deemed was right. There were thousands of men and women who, in our small nations history, have at some time or another taken up arms in defense of the British Commonwealth, to serve the United Nations in peace keeping duties, or serve as peacekeepers in the South Pacific. These men and women deserve our respect and gratitude for having the guts to stand up when it counted.

The ANZAC website says it best I think :

Although Anzac Day, the anniversary of the first day of conflict, does not mark a military triumph, it does remind us of a very important episode in New Zealand's history. Great suffering was caused to a small country by the loss of so many of its young men. But the Gallipoli campaign showcased attitudes and attributes - bravery, tenacity, practicality, ingenuity, loyalty to King and comrades - that helped New Zealand define itself as a nation, even as it fought unquestioningly on the other side of the world in the name of the British Empire.

After Gallipoli, New Zealand had a greater confidence in its distinct identity, and a greater pride in the international contribution it could make. And the mutual respect earned during the fighting formed the basis of the close ties with Australia that continue today.

My Great Grandfather served in the New Zealand army at Paschendale in WWI, my Grandfather served in the Merchant Marines in WWII, my great uncle was in the SAS in Malaysia, and my father-in-law was did two tours in Vietnam. They all deserve to be honoured for the sacrifices they made for their country and we use this day to do that.

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