Today, 25 April, is ANZAC Day. the ANZAC Day centenary, in fact.
On this day in 1915, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps began a long and ultimately fruitless campaign in Turkey. Gallipoli marked a turning point for Australia as a nation and Anzac Day is commemorated for more than just soldiers.
What was Gallipoli?
- After a failed naval attack, the Allies tried to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul) via the Gallipoli peninsula by land assault
- The amphibious assault started at dawn on 25 April, 1915
- British, French and their dominions’ troops – soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, India and Newfoundland – took part
- They faced months of shelling, sniper fire and sickness, before abandoning the campaign
- 45,000 Allied troops died for no material gain, although the Turkish Army was tied down for eight months
- 86,000 Turkish troops died. Commander Mustafa Kemal survived and went on to found modern Turkey
Anzac Day means so much more to Australia and Australians than just mourning our dead and honouring our Armed Forces.
To me, the Gallipoli campaign was so significant because it taught Australians to trust themselves – taught us (and the world) that Australians are forthright and proud and stubborn and fiercely loyal. Taught us to stand up for ourselves and treat ourselves as more than just a British Colony. Never again would we go into life so innocently – but as a nation we learnt so very much from the events of 100years ago.
As my wee but sincerely heartfelt commemoration, I’m posting a recipe so you can make yourself some Anzac Biscuits. These were made by Aussie women and shipped to our soldiers during WWI in care packages. They are traditionally crunchy – they were made almost rock hard to stand up to what was then many weeks in transit before reaching troops overseas – but there is a movement producing a soft and chewy biscuit. I love both styles, I have to admit. It’s the Aussie kid in me :D
And while you’re chewing or crunching, as your preference may be, take a moment to remember all those soldiers all over the world who sacrifice for the rest of us. Then remember the massive waste of life produced by wars over the years. Then, like me, wonder how the hell we can love destroying each other so damn much.