Last year, our social media expert Alice was chosen from the Government’s Ballot to attend the Centenary Gallipoli Dawn Service. This year, we’ve asked Alice to give us her reasons why every Aussie should make the long haul over…
Greeting the dawn on Anzac Day at Gallipoli had always been on my bucket list. Call me a world war history ‘nerd’, but ever since I sat in that history class at school I wanted to walk in the footsteps of those ANZACs who served and suffered for us at Gallipoli. Of the 26,111 fatalities at Gallipoli, 2 of the ‘lucky ones’ were my great-grandfathers. One survived being shot and went onto fight with General Monash on the Western Front in France whilst the other went back to Australia due to illness. Well that ‘Gallipoli dream’ came true 12 months ago and I felt extremely honoured to be able to re-trace both of my great-grandfathers’ footsteps.
To me attending Gallipoli is not just a day to remember the thousands of soldiers that sacrificed their lives for our country, it is also a time to remember who we are as a nation, and it is a vital reminder as to why this must never happen again.
Here are my 3 key reasons why every Australian should visit Gallipoli
To pay respect
We need to remember that men (or should I say boys) sometimes lied about their ages to defend their country. These men were fathers, brothers, and sons of loved ones. We are lucky enough to be brought-up in a nation that ‘wears our pride on our sleeves’, so why shouldn’t you wear those medals that were earnt by a relative? You should stand tall, arm in arm with your mates, on the ground where they once stood and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
To recognize our history
A trip to the Gallipoli Peninsula allows you to personally reflect on the birth of the ANZAC legend. It allows you to witness just how flawed this campaign was from the outset. It demonstrates the futility of this war. The ability of the ANZACs to endure this battle for a whole 8 months was not a failure but was a victory in endurance, guts and determination. The day we landed on the shore of Gallipoli was a day our true identity was born.
To build/retain our ANZAC spirit
It was a battle that brought two nations together and created a bond that will go down as one of the most patriotic mateships this world will ever see. You cannot argue with the strength of our ANZAC spirit. Despite an atmosphere at Gallipoli that is eerily sombre, as you stand on the rocky shores, they call ANZAC Cove, you sense your soul absorbing that ANZAC spirit. The courage, endurance, mateship, sacrifice and even that wry ANZAC humour that became key traits of our soldiers, begins to fill you heart. It’s these very characteristics that have shaped our country’s identities today and it is crucial we keep this ANZAC flame alive in each and every one of us.
If an opportunity ever arises for you to go to Gallipoli, don’t skip it! Attending Gallipoli and hearing the bugler play the Last Post over the top of the waves breaking on the shore line is an experience that will shape you, move you and stay with you until the end of time.