ANZAC Day: Remembering our fallen soldiers

The 25th of April is ANZAC Day; the day that New Zealanders and Australians remember the sacrifice of so many young men and women in past conflicts.  For me this is probably one of the most important days in the year; how do you thank so many men and women for their efforts to make this world a better place for future generations.

ANZAC-Day-Remembering-our-fallen-soldiers-Gallipoli

World War 1 and 2 took many New Zealanders overseas for the first time; I imagine many anticipating a great adventure however what they encountered was something very different.   The numbers are startling when you see the number of New Zealanders whom lost their lives and you come to realise how many parents never saw their children again  –

World War 1 – More than 120,000 men and women served (The NZ population in 1914 was just over a million) and from this conflict we lost around 18,500 Kiwis. (Statistics from the NZ History website)

World War 2 – Around 140,000 NZ men and women served (the NZ population in 1940 was approx 1,600,000) and from this conflict we lost 11,928 Kiwis.  The post war calculations state that New Zealand’s ratio of killed per million of population (at 6684) was the highest in the Commonwealth.

The soldiers that returned back home must have carried some of the deepest scars possible from surviving the war however they shaped New Zealand into the great country it is today.

We live in a world with so many problems that are simmering away which at some point I feel will boil over.  For me, I no longer think “if” there will be another World War but actually “when”.  I hope we never see another World War however to do this the world needs to work on unity and acceptance.

Kemal Ataturk delivered a speech at the Gallipoli battlefields and I find these words so moving.

“Those heroes that shed their blood

And lost their lives.

You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.

Therefore, rest in peace.

There is no difference between the Johnnies

And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side

Here in this country of ours,

You, the mothers,

Who sent their sons from far away countries

Wipe away your tears,

Your sons are now lying in our bosom

And are in peace

After having lost their lives on this land they have

Become our sons as well”.

Over the last few years I have visited a few of the Commonwealth War Graves and I wanted to take this opportunity to share some photos since we are so close to ANZAC Day.

Tobruk, Libya

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ANZAC-Day-Remembering-our-fallen-soldiers-Tobruk

The German War Memorial at Tobruk, Libya

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El Alamein, Egypt

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ANZAC-Day-Remembering-our-fallen-soldiers-el-alamein-war-cemetery

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Gallipoli, Turkey

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ANZAC-Day-Remembering-our-fallen-soldiers-Gallipoli

ANZAC-Day-Remembering-our-fallen-soldiers-Gallipoli

“We will remember them”

ANZAC-Day-Remembering-our-fallen-soldiers-Gallipoli

xx

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11 Comments

  1. April 23, 2014 / 7:12 AM

    This made me teary. My great grandfather fought and fell at the battle of Paschendale and where he’s buried is so beautiful and calm it’s hard to imagine the atrocities, though I got a sense of it when I saw my dad, a hardened military mam himself, break down in bucketfuls of tears at his grave, set among thousands of other young men in their prime and gone too soon. Beautifully written post Kelly.

    • April 23, 2014 / 8:40 AM

      I got teary when I was writing the post Kat. The numbers are staggering when you see how many young men were lost xx

      • April 23, 2014 / 9:08 AM

        It’s so awful. Gut wrenching really. In school you don’t really understand, then you hit the age/move past the age they were and suddenly get it. x

  2. April 23, 2014 / 10:24 AM

    They were so young! so many in their early 20’s, with what should have been their entire lives ahead of them. Very moving, thank you for sharing this.

    • April 23, 2014 / 12:31 PM

      I know, it’s so heart breaking when you see how young these men were x

  3. April 23, 2014 / 10:22 PM

    So heart breaking and such young boys! What do you do in London for Anzac Day?

    • April 24, 2014 / 6:54 AM

      Hey Sammy, they were so young and it is very heart breaking as they had their whole lives in front of them. I’m going to try and go to a church service this year in Cambridge, how about you? xx

  4. April 25, 2014 / 9:35 AM

    Beautiful post Kel. Such a solemn and significant day. Lest we forget. xx

  5. April 27, 2014 / 7:54 PM

    This is such a great post Kelly. We went to the American cemetery in Normandy on Sunday and it was very moving. I realised that if my grandfather had not come home safely from WWII then I wouldn’t be here.

    • April 27, 2014 / 9:09 PM

      I’m like you – if my grandfather didn’t come home safely I wouldn’t be here. The ages of these soldiers is just so heart breaking as they were all so young x