Service and Sacrifice, Anzac Day

April 25 is Anzac Day when we remember soldiers who died in war and honour those who returned or are currently serving, a tradition since 1916. Anzac Day was initially gazetted as a half-day holiday and in 1921 was first marked as a full public holiday.

ANZAC : Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers were known as Anzacs

The origins of this tradition go back to the thousands of Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought and died in the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915.

2779 New Zealanders killed
8500 Australians killed
– from https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/anzac-day/introduction

To mark Anzac Day I’m posting a photo I took a few weeks ago of the decorative wall on the Returned Services Association (RSA) building in Gore, Southland, New Zealand. A single red poppy is prominently displayed among a line of poppies that aren’t coloured. To me this produces a very striking effect.

rsz_gore_rsa_poppy


Further Reading

There is an excellent page on the NZ Army website about the significance of the red poppy. See http://www.army.mil.nz/culture-and-history/anzac-day.htm


Text and Photo by Liz; Exploring Colour (2018)

 

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16 thoughts on “Service and Sacrifice, Anzac Day

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  1. I had never heard of ANZAC day before. I thank you for bringing it to my attention. Just like Remembrance Day in North America, I wish more people would truly reflect on the horrible losses inflicted by war, rather than just think of it as a day off work.

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    1. Anzac Day is taken seriously in NZ. At the time of the Great War the NZ population was a lot smaller than now and those killed were a large proportion of the then population. Virtually everyone in NZ was affected by those losses. Also there’s been a resurgence in numbers attending the dawn service in the last decade or so. For example one estimate of attendance at the main Dunedin dawn service yesterday was up to 10,000 people! See Otago Daily Times article and photo at https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/sacrifice-and-service-honoured . Also Anzac Day is not treated as a normal holiday – if Anzac Day falls on the weekend you don’t get Monday off to compensate.

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  2. Nice pic and sentiment. If only people had truly learned from the horrors of the world wars. Just because casualties are seemingly measured individually and wars managed from the air does not excuse the behaviour of many human beings…for all of our celebrated knowledge we are incapable of living in peace and working as one for the greater good. It really is pathetic. How on earth do you truly prevent people from repeating history?

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Graham. By remembering our history it probably helps to slow down the repetition. But I don’t know the answer to the question you pose any more than I can understand how the current POTUS got elected.

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  3. The wall photo is interesting. The white panels call to mind the rows of countless white headstones (like the photo in my post), and the single red poppy seems to go straight to the heart. Jane

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  4. The wall at the RSA building is stunning. I once heard that the white poppy is the symbol of peace. I am curious by nature, so I must ask if Anzac Day is in addition to Remembrance Day (Veteran’s Day in the U.S.A.) celebrated in November? The Poppy Lady, Moina Michael, was an oft repeated story by my Gram…herself a maker of poppies. Thank-you for sharing this tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anzac Day is the anniversary of when the NZ and Australian Corps first landed at Gallipoli in WWI but has come to be a remembrance day for all those NZ lives that have been lost in war and honours survivors and those who currently serve. The losses for both NZ and Australia at Gallipoli were horrendous. It affected every community in NZ and every community has its memorial. So Anzac Day is our big commemoration and every little town and village has a parade and service.

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      1. I fear that I did not phrase my question clearly. I read the link that you provided and it was a very interesting history of Anzac Day. My question should have been, do you also celebrate Remembrance Day in November?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I wasn’t clear enough in my answer, but rather focused on trying to get across how important our Anzac Day is to us (and to Australians for that matter). Remembrance Day is so low key here that I know little about it and had to look it up on the Web. Here’s a page about it from the NZ Defence Force which does answer your question, so yes we do celebrate it to some extent but many people probably don’t know much about it whereas everyone knows about Anzac Day. Here’s the link: http://www.nzdf.mil.nz/news/events/remembrance-day/default.htm

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