It’s ANZAC Day

Occasionally you come across something so moving that it stays with you.

It’s ANZAC Day today.   (I’ll quickly explain:  ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. ANZAC Day marks the anniversary of the landing of the ANZACs at Gallipoli in 1915. It’s a day of commemoration for those in the armed services, past and present.   The day starts with a dawn service,  then a cooked breakfast before going to your local parade, followed by an afternoon at the pub for beer and a game called “two-up” which I still don’t understand.)

Every year, April 25 brings with it more and more inspiring stories.  Either they are recent stories, or tales that are only just emerging with the passing of time.   But I’m not telling any of these stories here.  Instead I’m simply sharing with you what is written on one of many memorials.

Dawn service in Canberra.

One of the memorials on ANZAC Parade in Canberra is the Kemal Atatürk Memorial. You probably know about Atatürk, the loved first president of modern Turkey. Anyway, years before he was given the title Atatürk (“father of the Turks”), Mustafa Kemal was a commander in the Turkish army at the time of the Gallipoli campaign.

In 1934 he wrote this tribute to those ANZACs killed at Gallipoli.  His words are inscribed on the memorial bearing his name.

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 now 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. 

Beautiful isn’t it?  I don’t imagine there are too many memorials to enemy commanders about.  But doesn’t this one make perfect sense?

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