In 1917, the word ANZAC meant someone who fought at Gallipoli and later it came to mean any Australian or New Zealander who fought or served in the First World War. During the Second World War, ANZAC Day became a day on which the lives of all Australians lost in war time were remembered. The spirit of ANZAC recognises the qualities of courage, mateship and sacrifice which were demonstrated at the Gallipoli landing.
Commemorative services are held at dawn on 25 April, the time of the original landing, across the nation, usually at war memorials. This was initiated by returned soldiers after the First World War in the 1920s as a common form of remembrance. The first official dawn service was held at the Sydney Cenotaph in 1927, which was also the first year that all states recognised a public holiday on the day.
Initially dawn services were only attended by veterans who followed the ritual of 'standing to' before two minutes of silence was observed, broken by the sound of a lone piper playing the 'Last Post'. Later in the day, there were marches in all the major cities and many smaller towns for families and other well wishers. Today it is a day when Australians reflect on the many different meanings of war. Gatherings are held at war memorials across the country.
The Flanders poppy has long been a part of Remembrance Day, the ritual that marks the Armistice of 11 November 1918, and is also increasingly being used as part of Anzac Day observances. During the First World War, red poppies were among the first plants to spring up in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium. In soldiers' folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground. The sight of poppies on the battlefield at Ypres in 1915 moved Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae to write the poem "In Flanders Fields". In English literature of the nineteenth century, poppies had symbolised sleep or a state of oblivion; in the literature of the First World War a new, more powerful symbolism was attached to the poppy – the sacrifice of shed blood.
LEST WE FORGET...
This post is part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.