25-04-2018 11:10 am
Since I was small, my mum has always talked about the significance of the 25th April - Anzac Day. It is almost impossible for most in my generation to understand what war is. We learn about different wars at school but the devastation caused as a result of wars seems a little absurd to us who have grown up in countries where peace is our way of life. It wasn't until a few years ago that I really understood the importance of Anzac Day. I understand loss, not related to losing a soldier - husband, brother, son or grandson, but I know what it was like for me to lose my big sister because of the exact same senseless ideologies that soldiers ultimately fight against.
For my family and I, it is important to us to remember Sharidyn. My sister wasn't a soldier - Sharidyn was a child. She had no military training - she barely had any life training. It wasn't her job to defend our country, our way of life or the values that are important to us - her only job was to be a teenager. Sharidyn did not sacrifice her life for our freedom - her freedom to choose was stolen from her.
My sister was 14 years old - I am almost the same age she was when she was killed. Commemorating the day Sharidyn was killed is remembering, not the senseless reasons for why she was murdered or the person that killed her, but it is about reminding ourselves how precious life is and how precious her life was to us. On the same day every year, regardless of where we have been in the world we remember Sharidyn on the 22nd July.
25th April 1915 marks the day New Zealand and Australia soldiers landed on the shores of the Gallipoli Peninsula now known as Turkey. It also marks the first military action fought by New Zealand and Australian forces during the World War I. Anzac is the acronym for Australia New Zealand Army Corp, and just like the name suggests, soldiers from Australia and New Zealand fought alongside each other like "brothers in arms" - known as the Anzac soldiers.
On that day, thousands of young men with almost no training stormed the beaches of Gallipoli as part of an Allied attack to capture Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire (an ally of Germany) to open the way for the Allied navies to the Black Sea. The Gallipoli campaign lasted for 8 months, and resulted in thousands of deaths on both sides. 87,000 Turks, 44,000 men from France and the British Empire, 8500 Australians and 2779 New Zealanders were killed at Gallipoli. New Zealanders and Australians who were a very long way from the shores of their own countries, their own homes, never again to return to their families.
It is for that reason we commemorate the lives of "fallen" soldiers killed during the battle of Gallipoli but we also commemorate Australian and New Zealand soldiers that have died in other wars. This day reminds us as well, about our soldiers that are actively serving in different parts of the world that don't have the same freedoms we have, while their families pray and hope for their safe return home. Commemorating the 25th April is each generations way (since 1916) of thanking them for their service, and our freedom.
We remember them. ❤