Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The spirit the ANZACs left behind

The spirit of ANZAC is often spoken of. In its purity it recognises the qualities of courage, mateship and sacrifice that were demonstrated at the Gallipoli landing. But to many it means so much more.

In 2001, I spent ANZAC day at Gallipoli. It was so moving, beautiful and so eerie – an experience I will never forget. Atatürk's beautiful tribute to the ANZACs stands proud at ANZAC Cove. It shows the grief and respect shown to all men of the battle.

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.
M. Kemal Atatürk, 1934

Today I think of the service men and women and their families; their courage, sacrifice and pride. And I think of that ANZAC spirit.

Lest we forget.