Published: May 24th 2011April 25th 2010
Being away from your country of birth for an extended period instills a fierce sense of pride and protectiveness toward your native land in ones' psyche. This is something both Adam and I have been aware of for quite some time and in the beginning, the clearest display of this seemed to be during any sporting match between the Aussies and Poms! But with more subtle undertones, this pride comes to the surface whenever we answer the many questions we get about our life style in Australia, and hear people remark on the beauty of our country or the attributes of our people. The tendency toward protectiveness also comes to the fore for me whenever a person or a media form makes a comment or a criticism about my homeland or its people. I find myself needing to rebuff the speaker and defend my fellow countrymen. I have grown more and more patriotic about all things Australian as my time abroad extends. I feel proud to be Australian each and every day. But never, ever have I felt more proud of my heritage than when I stood on the shores of Anzac Cove for the very first time. It's a remarkably
beautiful place. Quiet. Serene. Peaceful. And standing on the shore, it seemed almost impossible to believe that this was once the sight of such violence and suffering.
Growing up, Australian children learn all about the ANZAC legend. We admire the bravery of those men who stormed the shores of Gallipoli. We celebrate heroes like Simpson and his donkey. As a young country, the ANZAC legend has played a huge part in shaping our national identity and defining what it is to be Australian. So many of our core Australian values are epitomised by the ANZACs. More and more people are turning out on April 25th each year to remember the sacrifices of those who fought and died, and to recognise the efforts of those who continue to serve our nation in lands both near and far flung. The ANZAC spirit lives on.
Being in Anzac Cove for Anzac day has always been something I've wanted to do. It was a huge motivator for booking our trip with Oasis. Understandably, this part of the trip did not hold the same meaning to all who travelled with us. Many of our companions joined us only for a tour of the
area before making their own way onwards to Istanbul where we would later meet up again for a final farewell. Only six of us remained for the overnight camp out in Anzac Cove. Riding in on Twiga, Ads and I sat beside fellow Aussie Fiona and our Kiwi friend Pete, as well as our two British comrades Laura and George. We were hugely excited as we made our way in a convoy of other overland buses into our drop off point. Armed with sleeping bags and snacks, we marched happily to the sight of the dawn service and found a spot on the stands where we would sleep (or not sleep as the case would actually be).
The evening of the dawn service was really well run. Organisers had obviously anticipated that sleep would be a luxury unattainable for most and had planned a full programme of entertainment, performances and guest speakers on stage as well as documentaries shown on the big screen offering an overview of the war and the role of the ANZACs in it. Although I had planned to sleep through the night, at least as much as I could, the whole atmosphere at Anzac cove
made it almost impossible. And so I spent the night getting reeducated about the ANZACs, curled up in my sleeping bag and trying to keep the chill out. The night went surprisingly quickly and before I knew it, dawn had arrived and the service began. I've been to ANZAC services ever since I was a little girl but this service was more moving than any other. As the service unfolded, dawn light slowly lit up ANZAC cove. Being there, in that place, remembering those that fell, it was just incredibly moving. I sang our National Anthem with more gusto than I've ever done in my life.
Later in the morning, we made our way from Anzac cove, past the Turkish Monument, to Lone Pine where the Australian Service was held. Again, it was a really wonderful service, complete with lots of Aussie tunes, and I felt proud and humbled to be standing amongst so many of my countrymen at this site. Finally we made our way to Chanuk Blair, the site of the Kiwi service and joined our friends there in commemoration. Something that struck me as very moving at all three of the services was the emphasis placed
upon enduring friendship and mutual respect between the Allied forces and the Turkish people on whose land so many of our soldiers still rest. The whole event was a joint collaborative effort from all three countries and it was lovely to think that peace and friendship is possible after so much suffering. I felt a great sense of hope for all the worlds peoples as we left Anzac cove that day. May peace be with you and me always.
There are more photos below