ANZAC DAY - APRIL 25
ANZAC continues to denote a distinctive nationalistic spirit of sacrifice and courage. In New Zealand the word retains its connotation of Australian-New Zealand kinship and in both Australia and New Zealand Anzac Day, on 25 April, is the main day of remembrance for the fallen in all wars.
It is the anniversary of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli in 1915, where many were to perish. Annual services in remembrance of the loss of life of that Campaign began as early as 1916 and have evolved over time to the observance we know today.
The observance of ANZAC Day as a national day of remembrance began with the first anniversary of the Landing in 1916. Since that time the form of ANZAC Day commemorations have evolved, with subsequent wars and new understandings of the full impact of armed conflict on those who have served their country.
Commemorative services begin before dawn with a march by returned and service personnel to local war memorials where they are joined by other members of the community for a wreath-laying service.
The assault on the Gallipoli Peninsula began on 25 April 1915 in an attempt by Allied Command to weaken the strategic position of Germany, Austro-Hungary and Turkey was the first major involvement by the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
The ANZAC Acronym;
ANZAC is the acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, the formation created in December 1914 by grouping the Australian Imperial Force and New Zealand Expeditionary Force stationed in Egypt under the command of Lieutenant-General William Birdwood.
It was originally proposed the division be called the 'Australasian Corps'. However, both, Australians and New Zealanders felt it would lose their separate identities and this title was not chosen.
The acronym itself is said to have been devised at Birdwood's headquarters by a New Zealand clerk, Sergeant K.M. Little, for use on a rubber stamp and later was taken on as the telegraph code word for the corps.
The ANZAC division made its operational debut at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 and the small cove where Australian and New Zealand troops landed, was designated 'ANZAC'. Before long, the word was used to describe all Australian and New Zealand soliders who fought on the peninsula, and eventually any Australian or New Zealand soldier.
As an adjective the word was soon being used to describe items ranging from biscuits to buttons. Shrewd entrepreneurs saw the commercial advantages of the term, but there was strong popular opposition to such exploitation. On 31 August 1916 the word ANZAC was protected by law and prevented from exploitation for business or trade purposes.
The story of how the Poppy became an international symbol of remembrance is a remarkable one. To learn more about it, and its significance to New Zealand Armed Forces, visit the Returned Services Association website. http://www.rsa.org.nz/