On Apr. 25, we observe ANZAC Day, one of Australia’s most important and revered national occasions. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and the day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the World War I. With the many commemorative services and memorials available today, Anzac Day is a time at which Australians reflect on the many different meanings of war and honor those who have give their lives for service to their country.
How to Observe ANZAC Day
1. Attend a dawn service
The half-light of dawn was one of the times favored for launching an attack and as a result, a dawn vigil became the basis for commemoration in several places after the war. Partake in this reflective tradition by attending a dawn service in your local area.
2. Visit a war memorial
Sometimes the best way to celebrate is through peace and solitude. Visit a war memorial in your area to brush up on your history and learn the names of those who gave their lives with military service. For an even more authentic experience, several memorials hold formal ceremonies, complete with military rituals and speeches, to recognize those lost in war.
3. Plan a trip to Gallipoli
Australian and New Zealand forces engaged in the Gallipoli military campaign on April 25, 1915 during World War I, which became the original inspiration for the holiday. Visit the commemorative memorials and stunning battlefield sites for an eye-opening experience and learn why it helped foster a sense of national identity for New Zealand and Australia.
Why ANZAC Day is Important
A. It's a day of remembrance
During the 1920s is started as a day of remembrance of those who lost their lives in World War I. In the years following, it became a holiday to recognize those who gave their lives during World War II and then further broadened to encompass lives lost in any and all military operations in which Australia has been involved. Today it perpetuates the sacred tradition remembrance.
B. It recognizes and honors service
This day is galvanized by the personnel who served Australia in times of war and peace. These individuals embody courage and sacrifice on the battlefield and demonstrate what it means to truly serve a country.
C. It embodies mateship
Mateship is an important Australian idiom that represents loyalty, companionship, and equality among people (especially men). ANZAC Day can be considered an archetype of mateship through the perseverance of ANZAC forces and the strength of their bond during hardship. The landings on the beach at Gallipoli remain a culturally defining moment for Australia and New Zealand as nations and continue to be remembered on this day each year.