We Will Remember Them

April 27, 2018

Source: Veronica Ivanov / Unsplash

This week, we celebrated Anzac Day.

April 25th.

It's a day to honour all New Zealanders killed in action and the servicemen and women who managed to make it home. The day itself marks the anniversary of the landing of New Zealand and Australian soldiers on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915.

The Gallipoli Campaign led to thousands of people losing their lives: French, British, Australians and New Zealanders. Although New Zealanders fought on the other side of the world, we fought for something we believed in. A sense of duty had been instilled and is still referred to in this modern day. We will remember them. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps showed great courage, endurance, and discipline, which are characteristics that live on and are instilled in our forces today.

Allies landed on Gallipoli on 25th April. British and French landed at Cape Helles whilst the ANZACs landed in the middle of the peninsula, several kilometres away from their intended landing place. They encountered Ottoman forces on the hills and clifftops above and were unable to make any significant headway. They battled to maintain control of the beach, but it resulted in significant and unavoidable bloodshed.

Anzac Day is celebrated in a particular way, consistent with a form of military funeral. The day is marked as a public holiday, so anyone in New Zealand can attend services and pay their respects. Many people in New Zealand attend a dawn service and the parade. During the dawn service, family members of the servicemen and women march to the local war memorial, usually joined by other members of the community. The service includes hymns, prayers, dedications, a minute silence and the national anthem. Alternatively, family members of the servicemen and women wear their medals and march behind banners for the Anzac Day parade. They, too, are joined by other community groups including armed forces, cadets, the Red Cross and other armed forces veterans. They march to the war memorial and perform another ceremony, which includes laying wreaths at the foot of the memorial statue.

The red poppy is our symbol for the remembrance of the war. People wear the red poppy for the week leading up to Anzac Day as a way of symbolising remembrance of the war, not just on Anzac Day but every day. The poppies are sold to support current and ex-service personnel, which includes the police and their families. They were the first flower to grow on the battlefields of Flanders in Belgium during World War One, which makes them an apt symbol for remembrance.

Yesterday, I made Anzac biscuits as a way of commemorating the time and showing my respect for the soldiers. It was a small act, but one I shared with my son, so it is one I will treasure. Anzac biscuits are made with cupboard staples, including rolled oats, flour, brown sugar and coconut. During World War One, the biscuits were sent by wives and women's groups to the soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil quickly and keep for ease of transportation.

When I was in primary school, I joined Girl Guides and attended dawn services. The emotion in the room was overwhelming and eye-opening. I have never felt so connected to other New Zealanders as I did in those moments. I didn't attend the services this year (my son and I were sick) but I'll be taking him to services in the future.

You're never too young to show respect for your countrymen and women.


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


How do you show respect for your fallen countrymen and women? Do you have any personal ways of honouring them? Have you ever attended an Anzac day service?

You Might Also Like