Today in Australia, we remember the ANZACs who went to war and the many soldiers throughout our military history who sacrificed their lives so we can live in peace.
"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives..
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers,
who sent their sons from far away countries
wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
and are in peace.
Having lost their lives on this land they have
become our sons as well"
Ataturk - 1934, ANZAC Memorial at Gallipoli, Turkey
I love this poem by Ataturk. What a great leader he was.
In 2002 Phil and I travelled extensively through Turkey; and like most Australians who go there, we made sure we spent some time at Gallipoli. It was very special trip for me as not only am I very proud to have been Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force; but more importantly my maternal grandfather, Harold Louat, spent time at Gallipoli in WWI as a young ambulance man, working alongside the famous Simpson and his donkey. He was too young to fight and actually too young to join as an ambulance man but his family was French and his parents let him lie about his age so he could go and fight in France. Grandad did his training on the battlefields of Gallipoli and then was sent to the battlefields of Ypres in Belgium. He came home injured from a bomb shell in his thigh which resulted in a limp. My other grandfather, Frank, was a POW in Changi in WWII so today I thank them and remember them as well as all the people who fight bravely in terrible wars.
I'm sure Anzac Cove is much more crowded today for the dawn service, but when we were there in July 2002, it was very peaceful. We swam in the warm clear blue cove and found rusty old bullet shells amongst the sunken boats. It is very confronting being there and seeing the harsh impossible conditions our soldiers faced. What were the British thinking? It was an impossible wasteful initiative. So very sad.
This photo is of my grandad, Harold, from WW1. He was so young.
Have you been to Turkey? To Gallipoli? It's an absolute honour to be there and to be greeted so warmly by the beautiful Turkish people.
Lest we forget.