Today, the 25th of April in Australia we observe Anzac Day.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and is an acronym that has its origins in WWI. It is particularly associated, in our national memory, with the terrible loss of life at Gallipoli in 1915. (If you would like to read more of the history and the modern-day memorials beautifully maintained by the locals on the Gallipoli Peninsula, see this site.)
But Anzac day is an opportunity to remember and honour all the men and women who died in the service of their country. Those who will not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. We honour their memories, not to glorify war, but lest we forget.
The verse above, familiar to anyone who has ever been to an Anzac Day service, is taken from a poem called ‘For the Fallen’, which was written by an English poet, Laurence Binyon, in 1914. It was written for England’s lost soldiers, but I reproduce it after the cut in full, as some of the imagery is beautiful and the terrible loss of war is something all countries share.