The return to Istanbul - Simpson Prize 2013
Today was a sad day for us all. Leaving the Gallipoli peninsula and leaving behind all those boys from all nations is difficult. We as a group have paid our respects and honoured the men from all sides. It is hard in such a short time, to give a full perspective of the campaign but I am sure that the students and teachers alike are leaving with a new sense of what Gallipoli means and what it was all about. As there battlefield guide I personally hope that they understand the campaign better but most importantly they never forget that this, and all conflict, is about the service and sacrifice of all those individuals. That next ANZAC day, they don't remember a campaign but they remember one of the many personal stories we have explored whilst we have been here and that they take the time to learn about more people from different campaigns and different conflicts. Thank you to our wonderful Turkish hosts for allowing us the privilege of honouring these men. Lest we forget.
On to Istanbul and over to William for his reflections on the day;
After a slightly hurried but emotional breakfast at the Kum's restaurant this morning, we shared appreciation hugs with the chef and finished packing in time to embus. Departing at eight thirty, we made one more cemetery visit before leaving the peninsula once and for all.
The most emotionally jarring sight at the 57th Regiment Parade Ground for me was the Turkish mass grave; as Tayler said after we laid our wreath, the Turkish soldiers were not our countrymen but they were still our kin, fighting for the same reasons as us and with the same motivations, families waiting at home, politicians inspiring them to fight for their motherland, and prestige surrounding the "honour" of battle.
Having seen the Gallipoli peninsula and tried to recreate the paths of our soldiers, I will never forget what I have learned about the trials they went through, nor will I lose the respect I have gained for their dedication to their king and to their country.
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