Today in Australia and New Zealand services have been occurring in town centres since dawn to remember armed services members that have fought in conflicts since the First World War.
Last year, days before ANZAC Day, Elizabeth and I visited the site of the Gallipoli Landings. It was an important place to visit. As I said in my post last year, I feel visiting ANZAC Cove it is the closest thing Australians have to a pilgrimage site.
The most moving thing for me during the visit was reading an extract from a speech Atatürk, Turkey’s commanding general at Gallipoli and later the country’s leader, delivered some years after the war was over:
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives. You are now living 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 faraway 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.