Supplied courtesy of the © Robinvale Sentinel
We decided to come together as a nation a century ago. Barely fourteen years later, in the cold dawn of the 25th April 1915, Australian soldiers landed on a rugged peninsula, Gallipoli. We can only imagine the despair and marvel at the determination and spirit of those brave men who refused to take a backward step against almost impossible odds. As the sun set on that first day, approximately 2000 Australians lay wounded or dead.
The fighting continued for another eight months, resulting in some 28,000 Australian casualties, including more than 8,700 who were killed or died of wounds or disease.
The Australians at Gallipoli earned respect for their courage, determination and mateship. Their heroism captured the hearts of Australians then, and continues to inspire us today. Their legacy is the ANZAC spirit. A legacy that has been upheld by the thousands of Australian servicemen and women who, like the original ANZACs, have served overseas so that others may enjoy freedom, democracy and peace.
During the past century, Australians have been involved in the Boer War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency, the Indonesian Confrontation, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War.
More recently in East Timor, Bougainville, and now our men are involved in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan. We owe our servicemen and women, past and present, an enormous debt of gratitude.
On ANZAC Day, we have the opportunity to show our appreciation for their service and to honour their bravery and sacrifice.