On the 24 April we got up early from our hotel in Istanbul and drove to the Gallipoli peninsular. After many security check points, passport and pass checks, we end up at the holding area by Brighton beach at around 3:30 pm. After 3 hours of waiting it was our turn to walk the 3 km to North beach for the ANZAC service the next morning. On the way we stopped off at a number of cemetery’s and Anzac cove. After more security and pass checks we arrived just as the sun was setting and got a place in the stand at around 8pm. The Anzac memorial program continue thought out the night. Lucking the weather held and my silver survival bag kept me warm. The coldest time was just before dawn when the temperature dropped with a sea breeze starting to blow in. After the dawn service finished, we walked the 7 km up to Chunuk Bair for the New Zealand service. While the dawn Anzac service was special I felt more at home at this New Zealand only ceremony.
The experience of being there for the 100 anniversary is hard to describe and explain. I had been planning
this for over 15 years, at the intellectual level it was a great event and a point in history but at the emotional level it was a truly amazing experience and I felt good to be a New Zealander. There also was a collective sense of pride in this special shared experience with other New Zealanders present and those back in New Zealand and all around the world. I think that everyone there felt honoured and lucky to have been selected to have this amazing experience that was so important for our national identity.
After the New Zealand service ended at 3pm we had to wait to be pick up by our bus again. Unfortunately our bus (No 77) broken down so we ended up being the lasted ones picked after 5 hours at 8pm as it was getting dark we got to see sunset on ANZAC day . We were very tired as I had only had 30 minutes sleep in the last 40 hours.
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