Wednesday, April 27, 2011

At the going down of the sun…

This Monday past was ANZAC day.

ANZAC day is in many ways the most important day in the Australian calendar.
On the 25th of April it commemorates the day in 1915 when soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) went into action in the ill fated Dardanelles Campaign of World War I.

A mere 14 years after Australian Federation the casualties that fell in that campaign and the rest who fell before the end scarred our fledgling nation. Of a population of just over 4 million people in 1914, 330,000 Aussie soldiers served (all volunteers). It is said that Australian troops had the unenviable record of having the highest casualty rate during that bloody war. What is known is that of the 330,000 who served 221,000 were killed or seriously wounded.

So 96 years later we still commemorate ANZAC day.

The day begins with the Dawn Service. The title of the post refers to an ode (part of a longer poem) which is recited at the service:

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.

Last year I went to the ANZAC day parade and posted about that.


This year I did not want to battle the crowds so Deb and I made our way into the city in the evening.

It seemed quite fitting that we approached the Shrine of Remembrance as the sun was setting.We approached from the city along the Ceremonial Avenue.When we reached the forecourt the stone of the Shrine was bathed with the rich colour of the sunset. In the forecourt is the Eternal Flame and the World War II memorial.Every instant the light changed. I turned to catch the light painting this white barked eucalyptus orange.Then as the last glow of the sun went…The shrine faded to its usual greyDeb and I turned back to go along the avenue toward the city.Lest we forget how personal these events are…Someone’s private remembrance of a lost Grandfather.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

14 comments:

Anne Gallagher said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

That poem is beautiful. As were your pictures

Old Kitty said...

I love these very thoughtful and poignant pics.

Thank you. Take care
x

Ann said...

A thoughtful reflective post Al. I remember the post from last year too. The tremendous loss and grief suffered by the families of Australia should never be forgotten.

Very poignant the way the sun cast its shimmer in your photos.

Linda G. said...

Beautiful post. :) Remembering our fallen heroes is the least any of us can do to express our gratitude.

February Grace said...

What an incredible tribute. I have no words.

~bru

Deniz Bevan said...

Thank you for these photos. ANZAC day always makes me think of Ataturk's speech (http://www.scribd.com/doc/179072/Those-Heroes-That-Shed-Their-Blood-Ataturk), which always makes me cry.

L'Aussie said...

Hi Al. This is a great ANZAC post. I usually do one but with the A - Z Challenge this year I'm swamped. I'm going to Ypres tomorrow for my Y post. Visited when we went overseas last time and went to the Commonwealth War Cemetries.

I'm amazed at how populare ANZAC day has become after the slump several years ago.

If you want to see my Ypres post, it'll be going up tomorrow, 29th about 6pm our time.

Denise<3

LTM said...

wow. These are gorgeous! I love the architecture. Thanks for sharing! :o)

Hart Johnson said...

Wow--that is a huge casualty percentage. My grandpa was based in Australia during WW2, but that was because of the proximity to South Pacific stuff. These are great pictures.

John Gray said...

cracking post and good blog!

Jai Joshi said...

Thanks for educating me about ANZAC day. This was a beautiful post.

Jai

Niki said...

Beautiful photos as usual Al XX

Al said...

Anne,
Thank you, I am only too happy to share.

Hi Sarah,
A double thank you!

Hi Jennifer,
I am pleased you enjoyed.
Thank you as well!
Hi Ann,
Thank you.
It hasn’t been. Of course so many other places suffered terribly then and since. But coming so soon after we were Australian it has certainly shaped the way we see the world down here.

Hi Linda,
Thank you. We have an obligation to remember that is for sure.

Hi Bru,
Thank you.
I think the ode says it all.

Hi Deniz,
Ataturk’s words were amazing too. They are usually spoken down this way on ANZAC day.
They are inscribed at the Australian memorial at ANZAC Cove in Turkey.
Hi Denise,
It has been one of those weeks down in Vic too!
I haven’t been to the battlefields in Flanders. I guess people are looking for meaning.

Hi Leigh,
Thank you. You are most welcome!

Hi Hart,
It is an amazing casualty rate. But virtually all the Oz troops were in the front line. We relied on British troops to provide the logistical support that is normal in most armies. It is nice to think you have personal link with Oz through your grandfather.

Hi John,
Thank you, twice!


Hi Jai.
Thank you!

Hi Niki,
Thank you!