A tribute to the Australian men and women who fought in overseas wars hoping for a safer Australia

Today is a powerfully important day in Australia’s psyche. It is ANZAC Day; a day of remembrance and commemoration. In particular, this year’s ANZAC day represents 100 years since our defence forces arrived on the beaches at Gallipoli, Turkey near the beginning of World War 1. In 1914, an officer created the acronym ANZAC to register the coming together of two sets of national troops: the AUSTRALIAN and NEW ZEALAND ARMY CORPS. From then on and because of the actions of those men and women during the first World War, ANZAC has come to mean mateship and extraordinary personal and team efforts in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. We talk about the ANZAC spirit.

From dawn services, to town and city parades, to commemoration services at cenotaphs, today Australians will watch, march, place floral wreaths or otherwise be involved. We will remember those who have lost their lives, been injured or otherwise involved not only in World War 1 but also in all other arenas of war where Australians have travelled to help out another country.

From the beginning of last century, most towns built cenotaphs or other memorials in prominent places. This blog, during the walk along the Derwent River, has shown photos of structures built for such commemoration purposes. It seems appropriate to reshow a selection.

On Stage 1 when walking near the mouth of the river on the eastern shore, I found the Lone Pine memorial standing proudly.  Today, ex-servicemen will gather there to remember the sacrifices of those who stormed the beaches at Gallipoli and went on to battle it out at Lone Pine. ‘Lest we forget’.

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The South Arm cenotaph.

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The Memorial Reserve at Bridgewater

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The Australian Tracker and War Dogs Memorial at Lowestoft Bay

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The Hobart City cenotaph on the Domain

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One war memorial, which I am yet to see, is located at Gretna a small rural town located inland from New Norfolk. The Gretna war memorial was built after World War I and sits on a hill overlooking the Derwent River. The spectacular photo below is by Lex Prebski and was taken from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-22/11-unsung-war-memorials-to-see-in-tasmania-this-anzac-weekend/6401618

Lex Prebski photo of Gretna war memorial

It is interesting that the two most special days on the Australian calender have an element of doing wrong to others: Australia Day on the 26 January celebrates settlement of Australia by foreigners and the displacement of the local indigenous peoples; and Anzac Day on 25 April commemorates the death and activity of thousands of Australian men and women fighting other nationals in wars outside Australia not of our making. The positive sides of these two days are equally clear to me: Australia Day is the chance for everyone who lives in  Australia to enjoy the fact we have a safe and friendly country; Anzac Day offers the chance to value people who had in the past or have currently, a belief and act on it hoping to make the world a safer place for everyone.

6 thoughts on “A tribute to the Australian men and women who fought in overseas wars hoping for a safer Australia

  1. June

    A mighty thought provoking day.
    To borrow Walt Whitman “I see a sad procession, And I hear the sound of coming full-keyed bugles, All the channels of the city streets they’re flooding. As with voices and with tears… The moon gives you light, And the bugles and the drums give you music, And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans, My heart gives you love.”
    Lest we forget love.

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    Reply

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