As someone who has been privileged enough to be educated on 3 continents, it's always been incredibly interesting to me how geography differs the way history is taught. It's not that history is written by the winners (it mostly is, but there's the other side taught too,) but it's that that history is remembered differently depending on where in the world you are. Growing up, I was taught from a young age about the brave, heroic and selfless sacrifices of servicemen and women who served and died in wars far away from home. Died for King and our country, for their God, for the glory of the ages, for ideals of freedom and democracy. In Australian history, Gallipoli and Kokoda Track are ingrained as the epitome of our military bravery. But once you leave Australian and Kiwi shores, you're hard pressed to find someone, anyone, who understands or even knows of the significance of either. It bothered me beyond no end that during my education in England, Winston Churchill was placed on a pedestal of perfection, even when he was partly responsible for leading over twenty-five thousand Anzacs into the jaws of certain death.
Today, 105 years ago, 25,000 men (accompanied by many animals too who deserve remembrance and praise for their sacrifice) landed on the sands at Anzac Cove, too far north amd too close to their 'enemy'. Over two thousand Anzacs lost their lives that first day in Gallipoli. More were wounded.Many more than that would never forget what they saw and experienced that day. Winston Churchill refused to undertake a rescue operation and instead the Anzacs were left to "dig in" and pray for am uncertain survival. In the end, months later,, after all the bloodshed and screams and gunshots that rang from the cliffs, the campaign was insignificant to the war and a massive defeat for the Allies. Churchill for his part was demoted. The deaths of all Anzacs who perished in a fight so unfair and so unnecessary became an enduring legacy and lesson for Australia and New Zealand. 8,141 brave men a long way from the shores of their homelands died on the sands of Gallipoli. The ANZACs are remembered at home and abroad, even in such a time of peril, for their sacrifice - not only for King & Country, God and glory, for freedom and democracy - but for us, the ones they left behind and the ones that came behind them.
Around the world, day in and day out, hundreds of thousands of people serve militaries. For my generation, the only war we've ever lived through is that of terrorism. We do not and cannot fathom what it was like a century ago when men and women left their homes, their families, their lives behind to protect and serve half a world away in a war that was faceless to them. They didn't know what they were facing in Gallipoli, on the Western front, in the jungle of PNG. Yet, selflessly, they serve for us. Maybe not perfectly, not always morally or justly, but they did so and do so in order for all to know peace and liberty and for the future chance to leave this world better than we found it.
‘The Anzac Day tradition has meaning for us all / And if we listen closely we can hear their mournful calls. / Fighting for the freedom, the freedom of this land / Fighting for their loved ones, on that cold and desolate sand.’ ― Anthony T. Hincks
Lest we forget.
Love, Sassy xo
PS: I know it's been a while but does anybody else feel like April has come and gone faster than you can spell coronavirus?