ANZAC Day and Gallipoli reflections - Simpson Prize 2012
ANZAC Day is a significant point in the trip for everyone. Experiencing the Dawn service for the first time at the Cove is different for everyone and in the context of the whole trip and for us, the intensity of the Gallipoli experience has shaped the day for us all. In many ways we have the best of peninsula, we have had time to walk the ridges and visit the cemeteries virtually alone. It has been a time for reflection and a time for us all to really appreciate the enormity of the task that faced thos e men almost 100 years ago. It was important for the students to understand that this experience was the same for the Ottaman soldiers. They suffered the same as the ANZACS, they lost the young men of a generation, they sacrificed as we did and they respected their foe as we did. The generosity of the Turkish people to accept us on there shores so many years after this invasion and to support and take part in this special day was not lost on any of us.
The Gallipoli dawn and Lone Pine service did not disappoint despite not being quite emotional as I had hoped. By comparison I felt the cemeteries to be more emotional and proved to give better insight into the importance of individual soldiers, leaders and the Turkish as those who were invaded. Through this experience I have come to the realization that not only are the Turkish a warm and inviting people's but we as Australians are incredibly lucky to be afforded such hospitality and friendship. I am so grateful for this experience, thank you to the Turkish people.
I found the dawn service and the Lone Pine service to be two of the most emotionally impactful experiences of my life. Being involved in the Lone Pine service as a speaker and wreath layer was daunting for me, but I was very humbled to be a part of such a historic and important event. Visiting the memorial to the Turkish 57th Regiment was nearly just as emotional, as it was a fascinating look at the Turkish perspective, and it made me think about how incredibly generous it was of the Turkish to accommodate Australians in such a kind way, when we had been the ones to invade their country 97 years ago. This trip is one of the most amazing and unforgettable experiences I have ever been a part of, and I am incredibly grateful to the War Memorial and the people of Turkey for providing me with this experience.
Being a part of the Dawn Service at Gallipoli was a truly wonderful experience. I was lucky enough to be a part of the reflective program in the pre dawn service and gave a speech reflecting my thoughts of the 'ANZAC story'. The overal experience was quite surreal and will definitely stay with me forever. I would however like to say that getting the opportunity to visit the Turkish cemetery (57th Regiment) was a privilege I would wish upon anyone.
Yesterday was definitely one of the most significant days in our trip as, after all, all our efforts so far have been leading to the
understanding of this day. I felt that the Dawn and Lone Pine service were both very appropriate in their commemoration, particularly as the formality of proceedings added a very respectful and honorable tone to the. I was extremely proud to be part of the Lone Pine Service and elated to meet distinguished people such as the PM and VC receiver Ben Robert Smith.
Overall, when reflecting upon the last few days, it can be concluded that ANZAC day was an emotional, awe-inspiring experience. To stand upon the soil on which the soldiers fought and died, to walk amongst the cemeteries, and to witness dawn at the ANZAC commemorative site, was certainly a special part of my life that will remain with me forever. The atmosphere, pre-dawn on ANZAC morning, felt as if you were part of the landscape as you absorbed the service. I was also privileged to present a short speech regarding my Anzac reflections as part of the dawn service reflective program. As we returned to the hotel, I was humbled by the fact that I actually had the opportunity to personally witness ANZAC Day at Gallipoli.
- Taylor Joppich
ANZAC Day here at Gallipoli was a very touching service. To be on the ground where Australian soldiers once stood and died almost 100 years ago made me reflect more deeply than ever of the sacrifice the young soldiers made. Some activities that we undertook, such as sleeping throught the night before the Dawn Service and walking from ANZAC Cove to Lone Pine were quite difficult and at times frustrating, but looking back, this was nothing compared to the life the soldiers at Gallipoli undertook every single day. Lest We Forget.
- Andrew Tran
The last 24 hours have certainly been the most tiring of our trip thus far! I found both services deeply emotional, though some moments were particularly poignant. I was moved to tears when the Turkish veterans waved at the crowd at the beginning of the Lone Pine service, and also when the sun emerged above cliffs surrounding ANZAC cove. It was also a great honour (although very stressful) to be able to speak at Lone Pine, and meet the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Victoria Cross winner, Ben Robert-Smith. It has been a very thought-provoking and, at times, confronting experience, and has forced me to think about the true meaning of the ANZAC story for both Australians and Turks, and about the nature of our commemorations.
- Phyllida Yum-Yum Behm
97 years later, and we all sit, tired and shivering among thousands of other Australians at the Dawn Service, Anzac Cove. A few hours later, and we are participating in the Lone Pine Ceremony among, once again, thousands of boisterous, patriotic Aussies, Julia Gillard, Turkish War Veterans, Ben Robert-Smith and many other VIPS. The line between commemoration and celebration was, unfortunately, smudged, as chorus' of "Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi" split the air, Mexican waves and waves of the Australian Flag began. Although both services were incredibly moving, thought provoking and will remain one of the most influential and emotional experiences of my life, I honestly thought that spending time at the individual cemetery's, and the brief visit to the Turkish War Memorial remained more moving then the two said ceremony's. With that said, however, it was absolutely incredible to partake and witness such a nationaly important services and numerous aspects of both, moved me to tears. Lest We Forget.
- Jess Walch
Rather than cover the same topics as everyone else, I thought I would share a story from ANZAC Day that I found more moving than the services we participated in. We were having dinner at our hotel on the evening of ANZAC Day when we were approached by a gentleman who saw the Simpson Prize sign on our table. He wanted to let us know that after the Dawn Service, while the rest of us were trudging up artillery road, a young couple approached him to ask whether he knew how to get to the 4th Battalion Parade ground cemetery was. Being a nice man, he took them the back way up Shrapnel Valley to avoid the masses on the main road. The young woman was looking for her relative who is buried there, a young man called Thornton. We had stopped there three days previously and told the students Thornton's story and left behind a laminated copy of his photo and some information. She was moved to tears that our group had stopped to pay our respects to her relative. For me this is what made that day special, that in a small way our actions had made ANZAC Day special for that couple.