In the pre-dawn darkness a hush settles over the large crowd. It is eerie. Misty. Hundreds of thousands of people, strangers, stand shoulder to shoulder, honouring the fallen of long ago.
Young people, old people, little children. We wait patiently together for the sounding of the Last Post.
Somehow in the misty foggy half-light it seems that we could reach out and touch the moment when thousands of our green young men landed on Gallipoli Peninsula and carved out their place in history with blood, sweat and sacrifice.
April 25, 1915.
In the darkness they set out in their little boats headed for the beach. Before they'd even landed all hell broke loose around them. The legend of those diggers lives on in our hearts all these generations later.
That was the day New Zealand grew up. We found our feet as a nation. We forged bonds of brotherhood with our Australian cousins. We shed our blood and lost our youth.
No longer did we see ourselves as just an outpost of Mother England. Through loss and tragedy and waste and bravery and courage our tiny nation gained a sense of itself.
A heavy price to pay. Only one in four of our boys returned home unharmed. So we continue to remember them. Long after the last Anzac soldier has been laid to rest, the crowds continue to grow at Dawn Services everywhere. Lest We Forget.
They shall not grow 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
~ Inscription on War Memorials
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 at peace.
After having lost their lives on this land, they have
Become our sons as well.
~ Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
Turkish Commander at Gallipoli
Turkish Commander at Gallipoli
It's been twenty years since I attended that dawn service at the War Memorial Museum. One day I will go again, and bring my children so they can experience that eerie hushed reverence for themselves.
This year I baked my first batch of Anzac Biscuits (thanks PaisleyJade) in memory of the mothers who had to send their sons away. Mothers who heard about the terrible conditions their boys were enduring, the terrible food they were eating. Mothers whose ingenuity produced a healthy, delicious recipe that would journey well to the other side of the world, to sustain their precious boys.
1/2 cup plain flour
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup coconut
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons boiling water
As I mixed my bikkies I could so imagine that the secret ingredient that went into them was Love...
Mix together the flour, sugar, oats and coconut... (oh my sweet Jimmy will be getting these biscuits)...
Melt the butter and golden syrup... (he will hold these biscuits in his precious hands...)
Mix the baking soda with the boiling water... (he'll put these biscuits in his mouth; they'll be inside him...)
Stir into the melted butter... (oh I do so pray these will find him well...!)
Combine and mix well. Place dessertspoonsful on cold greased trays and bake for 15 minutes at 180oC. (Come back to me Jimmy. Come back in one piece!)
Ah, well that's what I was imagining anyway. It's the mother in me.
ANZAC stands for Australian New Zealand Army Corps. Anzac Day has been celebrated since 1916; the numbers of people travelling to Gallipoli in Turkey and attending Dawn Services on Anzac Day are steadily climbing. The younger generation has not forgotten.
Pictures from Google Images (Except the ones of my bikkies).