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What Does Anzac Day Mean to You?

Is it ‘freedom’ as Blaire Sayers, Rehab Management Sydney’s Client Relations Manager describes?

“We wouldn’t have the freedoms we do in Australia if not for the sacrifice of our serving people and animals – past and present.

ANZAC day has always been important in my family traditions. Some family members have served in Kokoda, PNG and France. Every ANZAC day, I always take time to reflect and remember them.

My time at the Isurava Memorial in Kokoda stands out for me. It was such a powerful moment standing where our ANZACs had been, remembering all they endured. The words on each pillar encapsulate what it means to be an ANZAC, not only on this day but every day.

Courage, Mateship, Sacrifice, Endurance. It makes me so proud to honour our clients who have lived as serving members and veterans. Lest We Forget.”

The 25th April is ANZAC Day, a tradition that touches the lives of every Australian through a public holiday, school and community commemorations, media coverage and mass gatherings at dawn to honour those who gave their lives for an ideal.

It’s known as a time to remember and recognise this service and sacrifice of members of the Australian Defence Force. The day was originally a commemoration of the landing of Australian and New Zealand forces at Gallipoli in modern-day Turkey in 1915 – World War One.

Now, Anzac Day is a public expression of gratitude and reflection that still resonates with both our young and elderly.

History of Anzac Day

ANZAC is an acronym that stands for Australian New Zealand Army Corps, the name given to the troops raised by our two countries to aid the British Empire. Throughout the war, these ‘Diggers’ and ‘Kiwis’ lived, fought and died alongside each other, creating an enduring bond between the two nations.[1]

A few surviving Diggers have firsthand experience of the landings at Gallipoli in the Dardanelles Strait on 25th April 1915. On this day, ANZAC troops were committed to their first major action of the war, and though the campaign would ultimately prove a bloody failure and leave more than 8,000 Australians dead, it marked the beginning of the Anzac legend.

How We Remember Them

Every year at dawn, thousands of people in Australia and New Zealand gather to pay respects. Apart from these special remembrance services, there are community events, exhibitions and workshops.

There is also Remembrance Day, celebrated every year on 11 November at 11am – the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month – when we pause to remember those men and women who have died or suffered in all wars, conflicts and peace operations.

Rehab Management Toowong’s Acting Client Relations Manager, Taylor Melville, is also moved each year on ANZAC Day. “I’ve always had a strong family connection to the Australian military and ANZAC community,” she says. “My great grandparents returned from the war and have passed down stories to each generation.

 

“All family members – from my great grandfather to my dad – have always played a part in the local ANZAC Day parades, especially riding in Townsville’s 27th Lighthorse Regiment for more than 30 years.

“I’ve grown up understanding and appreciating the sacrifice of every serving member. I also appreciate the animals, as I grew up on a farm with the horses that marched in the parade. My family’s slouch hat has been passed down  to me, and though I watch the parade from the sidelines, it’s an emotional day to remember the heroes of our country.”

This ANZAC Day, take the time to remember the purpose of the holiday. There is a beautiful resource for anyone keen to learn more, where you can do a virtual tour of the shrine or research your family’s history.

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