Today is ANZAC Day in Australia, New Zealand, Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tonga. It is one of the prominent public holidays in the Australiasia (one of the nine national public holidays in Australia – aren’t we lucky to have more than fifteen?) and a parallel can be drawn between our own Patriot’s Day and ANZAC Day, except perhaps for the magnitude and overall feel of the celebrations.
ANZAC is the acroynm for Australian and New Zealand Army Corp and honours the bravery and courage of those serving their country, irrespective of which branch of the miliary/security they are in. The event iconic symbol is the landing of ANZAC at Gallipoli in 1915 where 10,000 soldiers died. Australia had the highest casualty rate in that war and New Zealand sent 10% of its then one million population to serve the country overseas (figures obtained from Wikipedia.org).
In the past, because of the changes in the way people looked at war and the negatives of the Vietnam War particularly, ANZAC Day was seen more as a celebration of wars instead of what it really was. Today, however, that sentiment is slowing changing. It is seen as a day where people come together to remember the sacrifices others have made for the stability of the country – it is not common to see veterans meeting for a chat, people pay tributes and visiting their fallen loved ones and councils holding dawn memorial services together with, ironically, parades and celebrations.
For the rest of us who were either too young to remember or who cannot seem to connect with this event, it is just what it is – another public holiday, time to rest, enjoy and be merry before the work comes again.
HAPPY ANZAC DAY!