What is ANZAC Day: Meaning, History Fast Facts And Major Events

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By Sonalee singh | April 23, 2014 5:47 PM EST

Anzac Day is considered a national holiday in Australia and New Zealand. It is a day to remember those who lost their lives and served in the wars or during peacekeeping operations. The day was originated on April 25 to honor the members of  "Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought in Gallipoli during World War I.

It is one of the most important national occasions in Australia and New Zealand as it is a rare occasion shared by two countries. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand forces went out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula as per the plan of Winston Churchill. Constantinople was the main focus of the army as it was a major ally of Germany. The ANZAC forces fought with strong army of Ottoman Army commanded by Mustafa Kemal and the war led to major casualties.

The Allied casualties included 21,255 from the United Kingdom, an estimated 10,000 dead soldiers from France, 8,709 from Australia, 2,721 from New Zealand, and 1,358 from British India.

It is in honor of these men who gave their lives for their honor of country that every year Anzac day is celebrated on April 25. Here we look at some of most important events of the day:

  • Veterans and current military personnel attend a dawn service and a two-minute silence is observed followed by a bugler blast, the Last Post and Reveille.
  • People visit Australian war memorial in Campbell.
  • Families place red poppies besides the names of family members contained on the Memorial Roll of Honor.
  • National Flag is flown at half-mast.
  • Wreaths are laid at Australian War Memorial.

Some fast facts of Anzac day are as follows: (compiled from Australiagov.au)

  • The ANZACs volunteered for war.
  • The Gallipoli Peninsula is situated near the famous ancient city of Troy.
  • The first dawn service on the ANZAC Day was in 1923 and first official dawn service was held at the Sydney Cenotaph in 1927.

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