ANZAC Day is one of Australia's most important national holidays. April 25th is the anniversary of the first major battle fought by Australia and New Zealand during World War I. They celebrate it just like we celebrate Veterans and Remembrance Day.
A Brief History
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers who fought for these countries were known as ANZACs. A year after World War I broke out, the ANZACs set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey so Allied navies could get to the Black Sea. When they landed at Gallipoli on April 25th, the Allies couldn't defeat the Turkish who were defending the area. For eight months the two groups battled it out. By the end of 1915, both sides in the war had suffered thousands of casualties and the Allies withdrew from Gallipoli.
How It's Observed
Services are held at dawn, which is the same time the ANZACs landed in Turkey. Later in the day, men and women who served in different wars march throughout cities and towns and ceremonies are held at war memorials around the two countries.
Did U Know?
- What some people don't know is that all the men who fought during the eight-month battle at Gallipoli, including the 8,000 who died, were all volunteers. In other countries, soldiers were drafted (there was a mandatory sign-up) to fight in the war.
- ANZAC Day is also observed in the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga.
- There is a city called Gallipoli within the Gallipoli Peninsula but visitors to the area often stay in other towns close by like the ancient city of Troy.
- The last-known Australian surivor of the Battle of Gallipoli, Alec Campbell, died in May 2002.