Every year on April 25th Australia and New Zealand celebrate the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Day. Originally the day honoured those soldiers who lost their lives fighting for their country in World War I, but now is more broadly used to remember all those who have died in military operations.
Anzac day is still a national holiday for both Australia and New Zealand, and marks the anniversary of the first ever battle Australia joined as an independent nation. The Anzacs (as they were known) set out on April 25th 1915, to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula. Under orders from Winston Churchill the plan was to gain access to the Black Sea for the allied navy to advance.
The battle lasted eight months and resulted in a stalemate by both sides. Huge casualties were reported and the decision to withdraw troops was eventually made at the end of 1915. Despite failing to capture Constantinople, the Anzacs created a powerful legacy which is still celebrated in the countries today. The dedication, bravery and camaraderie of the men who fought in this bloody war, makes many modern day Australians and Kiwis proud.
The Anzac ceremony takes place at dozens of war memorials across both Australia and New Zealand each year. At 10:15am in the presence of VIPs such as politicians and governors, hymns are sung and prayers are made for all those who lost their lives. After the ceremony, families place poppies and wreaths near the names of relatives on the memorial’s roll of honour, very similar to how the UK commemorates lost war veterans.
This year, the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, made an address in the UK. At Hyde Park Corner, around 2000 people gathered for the service at the Australian war memorial.
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