Simpson Prize - 26 April
We are now back in Istanbul for the end of our trip. On ANZAC Day we attended the dawn service and Lone Pine ceremony. We arrived at 1.30am and found some seats in the stands. It was very cold and there were thousands of people, many sleeping on the ground in their sleeping bags. There were films and interviews shown throughout the night to keep us entertained and informed. This included pictures and epitaphs of many soldiers buried at Gallipoli which was particularly moving. At 5.30am the service started. The moving service included a commemorative address by Australian MP Brendon Nelson, hymns and wreathlayings. It was amazing being at the very place where the ANZACs landed to have a dawn service and they used great lighting on the Sphinx and surrounding terrain.
Then we walked up Artillery Road to the Lone Pine site for the Australian service. I read the poem The Last to Leave during the service and the other Simpson Prize students were wreath handlers. It felt very special to a part of the service. The next day on 26 April we stopped off at the Turkish 57th Regiment cemetery to lay a wreath there with our Turkish bus driver Mehmet.