Solemn time to remember the sacrifices

Anzac Day march. Picture: Simon Schluter.
Anzac Day march. Picture: Simon Schluter.

ANZAC Day, April 25, is considered one of Australia's most important days of the year.

In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula to open the Dardanelles (a strait between Europe and Asiatic Turkey) to the Allied navy.

The soldiers quickly became known as Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) and the pride they took in that name endures to this day.

The Australian and New Zealand forces landed at Gallipoli on April 25, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish defenders.

At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated, after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships.

More than 8000 Australian soldiers were killed.

News of the landing at Gallipoli had made a profound impact at home and April 25 became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in the war.

Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australian and New Zealand actions left a powerful legacy.

April 25 has become an occasion of national remembrance, which takes two forms.

Commemorative services are held across the nation at dawn — the time of the original landing.

Later in the day, ex-servicemen and women meet to take part in marches through the major cities and in many smaller communities.

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