ANZAC Day

I can’t say I have ever attended any ANZAC day parades or ceremonies so I am really looking forward to attending this year, I think I will aim to make it to the dawn service- though it may be a bit too early for me. My grandfather was in WWII and has been buried in the returned servicemens section of Makara cemetery. Until a year and a half ago, this was the only cemetery I had been to for war veterans. However while on a trip to France in 2007 I visited the Douaumont Ossuary, a memorial site in Northern France dedicated to the soldiers of the Battle of Verdun in WWI. Through windows in the basement, you can see the bones of over 130,000 French and German unidentified soldiers massed together. After climbing to the top of the monument, I found myself looking out at over 25000 graves of soldiers who died in the Battle of Verdun, to see the vast number of graves in just one cemetery was overwhelming.  I visited several World War I battlefields in France, walked through the trenches, and explored the forts soldiers lived in during the war. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience and something I will never forget.  When you consider the estimation that over 34.7 million soldiers died during the two world wars, 30,000 of which were NZ soldiers it is clear to see the need for a day of remembrance such as ANZAC day.

For a small nation, New Zealand’s involvement in both world wars was impressive, it is important for us to never lose sight of the sacrifices thousands of young men made and the many lives lost.  We have ANZAC day to remember all those who fought during the wars and risked their lives for their country. I am really looking forward to doing this assignment and understanding more about the many aspects of this political ritual and its importance in our society.

Just some of the 25000 marked graves of soldiers who fell during the Battle of Verdun

Just some of the 25000 marked graves of soldiers who fell during the Battle of Verdun

 

The trenches on the French side, the German trenches were literally 300metres to the east

The trenches on the French side, the German trenches were literally 300metres to the east

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~ by jackie213 on April 10, 2009.

One Response to “ANZAC Day”

  1. Yeah I haven’t ever gone to the dawn parade, I’ve always though people were rather crazy at getting up that early. But obviously it’s more than that. I’m actually quite excited about going to the dawn parade because of this. I know my granddad was involved in training, but he never made it to the war because of a leg injury.

    Douaumont Ossuary sounded quite intense, it sounds as it would have been quite a dark place.

    I have no idea what I’m doing my Anzac assignment on, but I guess I should read the assignment stuff, eek.

    Goodluck with yours and mabe I’ll see you at the dawn parade, YUK!

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