ANZAC DAY

Apr 25, 2009

Tomorrow April 25th, (which is already today in Australia, if that makes sense) is ANZAC Day. Anzac Day is a national public holiday in Australia and New Zealand to commemorate and honor fallen Australian and New Zealand military men and women. Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during World War One in Gallipoli, Turkey where heavy human losses were suffered.

Since I married an Australian Army officer seven years ago who has been on active overseas deployment, the day seems to have taken on more significance for me.

On this day, I join my fellow Aussies and Kiwis for Dawn Service. A memorial service held can you guess at what time? Yes at DAWN. The service is held outdoors all over Australia, New Zealand and anywhere else in the world you would find an Aussie or two and includes a lone bugler playing a rendition of "The Last Post" followed by two minutes of silence which is cut by lone bugle playing the "Reveille".

Washington DC expat Aussies, Kiwis and the Americans that have entered our lives will be joining for Dawn Service tomorrow at 5:45am at the National Korean War Memorial. Which will be followed by a gunfire breakfast held at the Australian Embassy. Gunfire breakfast is a tradition that mirrors a pre-battle ritual in which officers and sergeants wake the troops and ply them with a simple breakfast (usually oatmeal biscuit rations - to provide sustenance) and rum-spiked coffee (to steel the nerves for the combat to follow). Today of course the whole thing is a lot more civilized - the venue is an Embassy at 1601 Massachusetts Ave NW rather than a rat-infested sodden trench. Oh, and half of the participants won't shortly meet their demise in no-man's land - maybe some displays of public drunkenness, but little actual death...

Lest we forget