Australia, Community


The Ode

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Lest We Forget

A Dawn Anzac Ceremony – a strong Tradition in Australia

What is an ANZAC?

“ANZACS,”  is an acronym for the Australian and New Zealand Army Core, a group of troops renowned as courageous fighters who fought agains the Turks in the battlefields of WW I, far away from their own shores. Members on both sides of my family were injured and died at this gory battlefield.

Each year on April 25, Australia and New Zealand remember the Anzacs and broadly all the casualties of war. With ceremonies and services, the Anzac day traditions continue to grow in popularity, even though the last “digger” or Anzac soldier has passed away. Ceremonies are attended in every town, large and small, and attended by young people who proudly wear Grandfather’s medals and older ex-servicemen alike.

This year, Australians will honour them by standing on our driveway in a line of honour at 5.55am.


The sacrifice and valour of the original soldiers created the ANZAC legend and constituted a turning point in Australian history and the formulation of Australia’s identity. After this battle and war, Australians seemed no longer satisfied to be part of a British outpost in the Pacific. As a nation, we had grown up. We wanted to be a country and identity, in our own right, not a mere vassal. The Anzac legend fortified this belief.

The Anzac story of the Gallipoli battle has now become legendary. The Gallipoli battalions were sent into battle, under-resourced, and ordered to positions impossible to defend; vertical cliffs with enemy positioned at the top.

They were headed for a level of bloodshed on all sides, previously unknown in the annals of modern history. Actor Mel Gibson immortalized the Anzac soldier’s spirit in the 1981 film “Gallipoli”. It makes me cry every single time I watch it, for the men, their families and the loss of Australia’s best young men.

So every April 25, we will always remember them.

Lest We Forget

A snippet from 1981 of a surpringly nervous Mel Gibson as he talks about the film.

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43 thoughts on “ANZAC Poem”

  1. Rest in peace to all fallen soldiers. Have you ever seen the famous photo of two bullets which collided mid-air at the battle of Gallipoli? Astonishing. Apparently the bullets are kept in a museum somewhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s good that the remembrance is so strong in Australia and New Zealand. It’s important to remember these events, though the people who really should mind them mostly don’t, except for show. Both my grandfathers served in that war, one of them being wounded at the Somme.
    I love the movie Gallipoli; Peter Weir is my favorite director. I thought Mel Gibson was very good in it, though I can’t stand him as an actor or person these days, unfortunately.


    1. Oh, and if you haven’t seen Peter Jackson’s documentary, ‘They Shall Not Grow Old,’ I highly recommend it. He basically restored and colorized previously unused footage in the archive of the Imperial War Museum. A fascinating and moving film.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I agree with you about the person Mel Gibson appears to have become, especially in latter years. The Moth’s grandfather was also in the Somme receiving a military medal. A truly shocking battlefield with men drowning in mud. Is the rememberance of soldiers strong in Hawaii, Graham?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it is, particularly because of Pearl Harbor in WWII. Hawaii was a front line, and there were many issues because it’s a very multicultural society here, with many residents having Japanese ancestry.
        I don’t know where you can see ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ online. The film came out last year so it’s probably streaming somewhere. Luckily, our local cinema had it for a while. It’s one of the newer-style plush cinemas, which serve food and drinks. It was a bit weird to watch the documentary while cushioned in a comfy seat, eating pizza and drinking beer!
        No word yet from WordPress, but I’ll let you know if I hear anything. As you can see, I’m not having the same problem with your new theme.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I did wonder if it was the theme, which is why I changed it.
          I agree it seems surreal to sit feeding ourselves watching the horrors of war – be that fiction or non fiction. I am going to see if I can find that documentary. Tomorrow will be a good day to sit down and view it.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I can understand why you have strong emotions regarding Gallipoli: but I cannot understand why all Australia is whipped up into Gallipoli fervour. Why not be impassioned about a battle we won ?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is the tragedy of Gallipoli that is the attraction. Like a Shakepearean play!
      I do realize though, that weso overly concentrate on this battle when there were many more significant and successful ones. It should not diminish the importance of any of the others and I do think this day highlights that we should remember all the sacrifices all the individuals made, not just Gallipoli. I did mention that in the post, but possibly did not highlight it enough, M-R. I think Gallipoli – the event and the movie and the legend started us on our journey of identity, adn renewal of interest in young people in attending and celebrating Anzac sacrifices, so it is important from that point of view. But I do take your point and it is valid.


  4. “Gallipoli” was an extraordinary movie, invigorating and heartbreaking – especially the brutal ending. We should never forget our war dead. Innocence is always the first casualty of any conflict.


    1. It is nice to hear that you are aware of the movie, Gallipoli, Alejandro. I guess it really was a big break for Mel Gibson. I wasn’t sure if it was something known worldwide. Australian movies are largely unknown, apart fro. A few blockbusters. Gallipoli the battle, was a tragedy – absolutely. ButM-R’s point is well taken: that we should not overly focus on it, to the detriment or ignominity of other battles which have also seen heroism and sacrifice.
      And you are so right about innocence. Those boys were so young, naive and untarnished by such waste, horror and destruction. Any new soldier face similar challenges. So many return from Afghanistan with PTSD and face an uphill mental struggle to rationalize things they have witnessed. My heart goes out to all of them on Anzac day. You have a memorial day in July?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve seen quite a few Australian-made films over the past 40 or so years, usually on cable television, which is where I saw “Mad Max”, the first time I heard of Mel Gibson. Supposedly, he’d been in a bar fight the night before his audition for that movie, and some believe he got the role because of the way he looked after that fight. I know! I’m as shocked as you are! An Australian actor in a bar fight? I’m sure stranger things have happened. I’m not a big Gibson fan, but I do like “Mad Max” and several other Australian films.

        Our official war memorial observance is in May and we have Veteran’s Day in November.


        1. I am no fan of Mel Gibson either. Mad Max 1 is iconic though. It used to play constantly at the Drive-ins when I was teen! Who can forget, “Kundalini wants his hand back?” I think Mel went a bit weird in later years and lost the plot. His time had passed. He originally got accepted into NIDA – drama school as a wild card entry – he had no drama training at all! He had some element of charisma then, which he seem to have lost as he got older.
          May and November Veterans day- is it November 11th?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Are you aware Gibson was born in New York state and that his parents relocated to Australia in the mid-1960s because they feared Mel would get drafted into the Vietnam War, if it was still ongoing when he got older?

            Yes, Veteran’s Day is November 11, a federal holiday here in the U.S. Several years ago an acquaintance mentioned that it was also a great time buy garden supplies because they were always on sale that day. I responded, “This would also be a great time for you to shut the f*** up.”


            1. Yes, I did know that. That was why he got work so easily and quickly in America, I think. I remember reading a biography years ago. A deeply religious and perhaps puritannical family.


  5. As part of my English language degree, I studied British Civilisation. WW1 and in particular, the role Britain played during The Great War was an essential part of the course. It was extremely sad to learn the brutality of the war – the trench battles, the gas attacks, the loss of young men…

    It was great to gain an insight into the important role played by Australian and New Zealand troops during WW1. The soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the nations should never be forgotten. I’m glad to hear they’re honoured each year by ANZAC commemoration.

    I’ve seen WW1 films “They Shall Never Grow Old” and “1997”, and will check out “Gallipoli”. Thanks for this brilliant post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the comment, Isabelle! They are NEVER forgotten and I am so pleased that this tradition is getting stronger every year. Your study must have been so interesting albeit sad too. History was my favorite thing to study at school. It is fascinating and real life!
      I hope you like Peter Weir’s two productions. You may find some artistic license in Gallipoli – I would be interested in hearing it if you do. And grab some tissues for the final scene!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. As tragic as it is, it is important in conveying the spirit of these men and the larger than life legend. Many Australian high school students have watched it in their studies. I guess it is almost a rite of passage!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Please, if you can tell me, who wrote The Ode? Was it you?

    I remember watching Gallipoli a long time ago. I loved Peter Weir and watched everything by him. This documentary mentioned in the comments is on my list to see as well.

    I often wonder what will happen to the memory of our Partisans who fought the occupiers in WW2 after the last one dies. Their symbol, the red star, is already acquiring a bad name. Today is forty years since Marshall Tito died, their leader and the leader of postwar Yugoslavia until his death.


  7. It certainly wasn’t me who wrote The Ode, Manja. I wish I could write like that. Google tells me this: “The Ode comes from For the Fallen, a poem by the English poet and writer Laurence Binyon and was published in London in the Winnowing Fan; Poems of the Great War in 1914. The verse, which became the League Ode, was already used in association with commemoration services in Australia in 1921.”
    Why is the red star acquiring a bad name?


  8. Lately I have become sickened by the hypocritical reverence shown by those in power in observance of traditional ‘memorial days’. Far too many spout about the debt we owe to those who fought and died to protect our freedom, and yet, here in the UK at least, when the ceremony is over they return to their same old, same old efforts to strip those same freedoms from us. It’s an abomination.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now that is a great point, Colin. There seems to be a lot of hypocrisy in religion and cultural remembrances and of course in politics.
      Here in Australia, the need for some uniting tradition – for we lack any of real note, has been funnelled into Anzac day. It is almost unbelievable that the laconic Australian gets up at the crack of dawn on one day a year and stands around a sentinel in a local park with hundreds of other strangers remembering sacrifices of soldiers. For some reason, I also find it extremely moving, but then I do understand history a little more than the average person having studied it. Yet I constantly surprised at how many people turn up to the services. As the old veterans die out, it is growing in popularity, not shrinking. Perhaps Australia is so multicultural we need to hang on to some common tradition. In terms of the Uk and the freedoms being stripped away, what are they, specifically?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, there are several things the UK government is working on. Perhaps the most egregious is the ‘Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill’, which is, I believe, currently with the House of Lords. As the UK’s only Green Party MP Caroline Lucas puts it:

        It is one of the most draconian pieces of legislation proposed by a Government which is also trying to curb voting rights, strip individuals of their right to citizenship without even telling them and threaten the independence of the regulator that oversees fair play at elections.

        Oh, and they’re also doing everything they can to tear up the Human Rights Act, too…

        Liked by 1 person

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