Once again, dawn services are being held where ever there are Australians. In every major city in Australia, as well as in many smaller towns. In London, in France, everywhere there are Australians and almost everywhere that Australians died in battle.
Even in Turkey, on the beach at Gallipoli where the ANZAC’s, at dawn, charged into history and defeat.
Perhaps it may seem strange to outsiders that our greatest hero, Ned Kelly, was an outlaw and a bushranger, and that we commemorate our greatest defeat as our finest moment. As an Aussie, it seems perfectly logical.
With all the modern-day fear of those who are different, and the hysteria of modern-day terrorism, it is worth while looking back in history. Yes, the Muslim Turks were our enemies and the fighting was bitter and hard. They were commanded by the man who later became the founder of the modern Turkish Republic.
Yet in later years he wrote, for inscription on the Memorial built at Anzac Cove to commemorate the dead;
THE ANZAC MEMORIAL
Those heroes that shed their blood And lost their lives…
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore, rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side,
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries…
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom And are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land, they have
Become our sons as well.
A tribute to the memory of the ANZACs
by M. Kemal Atatürk, 1934
(Founder of the Turkish Republic in 1923)
This year, an Aussie whose grand-parents came to Australia from Turkey has travelled to Gallipoli with thousands of other young Aussies remembering their ancestors to remember his Great Grand Father, a Turkish soldier who fought against and was killed by the Australians.
There is a lesson to be learnt here by everyone, including our leaders.