Tuesday, April 28, 2015

ANZAC Day 2015

New Zealanders observe Anzac Day on April 25.

Poppies outside the Information Centre
On 25 April 1915, Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, the site of New Zealand’s first major battle of World War One with the loss of over 2,721 New Zealand soldiers. The Australian and New Zealand soldiers were part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula. What followed was a bitter eight-month campaign that helped to forge our nation.

Tirau's ANZAC service is held here
Messages were encouraged to be written he

Anzac Day is a national day of commemoration (also observed in Australia) and it is a time of remembering all New Zealanders who died serving New Zealand during war and it honours returned servicemen and women, past and present, who served their country in wars and conflicts. Many New Zealanders attend parades, dawn services (a moving rite of passage for many kiwis) or commemorative ceremonies on Anzac Day. The Anzac Day parades involve returned service personnel wearing their medals while marching behind banners. Defence force members, cadets and youth organizations also join in the parade. It’s also common to lay wreaths to remember New Zealanders who fought and died in past wars and conflicts.

We Will Remember Them banners
Anzac Day has been a public holiday in New Zealand since 1921. Schools, government offices, and many businesses are closed. However, it was observed as early as 1916. A civic delegation in Wellington persuaded the government to gazette April 25 as a general half-day holiday. By 1920 it was apparent that most New Zealanders wanted Anzac Day observed as a sacred day and later that year the government introduced a bill to make Anzac Day a national holiday. As of January the 1st 2014, Anzac Day became "Mondayised" which means if it falls on a weekend, the following Monday becomes a day off work. ANZAC day is still  commemorated on its actual holiday date.

Every year, thousands of Kiwis and Australians – young and old – travel to be part of a commemorative service at Gallipoli, in Turkey. Australia and New Zealand conduct three commemorative services at Gallipoli on Anzac Day each year. The Dawn Service at the Anzac Commemorative Site is jointly conducted by both countries and is followed by an Australian Memorial Service at Lone Pine, and a New Zealand Memorial Service at Chunuk Bair. As the Anzac Commemorative Site has a limited capacity, anticipated demand to attend represents a challenge to ensuring a secure, safe and comfortable visitor experience, while maintaining the dignity and solemnity of the centenary commemorations. such was the demand this year a ballot was taken and draen on 31 March 2014.

Tirau's fallen soldiers
Crosses for Tirau's fallen
Students from Tirau School researched information on fallen soliders
Since the first commemorative services in 1916, Anzac Day has evolved into the observance we know today, with Kiwis and Australians of all ages attending services and events across the world, from dawn until dusk. In the afternoon we relax, spend time with our loved ones and if we are lucky, enjoy a day off work. We honor the Anzac values of courage, compassion, camaraderie, and commitment and a time we depended on each other as brothers.

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