Anzac Day by Jo Castro

We stand shoulder to shoulder in the darkness of early morning. The sun begins to rise over the inlet heralding a blood red dawn. My heart is thumping and I hold back the tears.

It’s the 25th April, ANZAC Day, probably Australia’s most important national occasion.

Anzac Day by Jo Castro
Dawn in Bunbury and the memorial in Albany, on Mount Clarence a hill that was probably the last sight of Australia  many of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps would see.

Anzac Day in Bunbury

The large crowd stands motionless in front of Bunbury’s war memorial, you could almost hear a feather drop before  a solitary gun shot shatters the silence, and the last post is played.

“They went with songs to the battle, they were young. Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.”

Tears are shed and the common memory is shared ; of war and soldiers, fathers and grandfathers, the lost and the fallen and those still fighting in wars around the world.  I think of my own Grandfather and the part he played in the same war in a different country, a war that would change him forever too. Silent prayers are said and people close their eyes in remembrance. A feeling of solemnity hangs heavy in the cold morning air.

Anzac Day by Jo Castro and Dave Castro

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left  grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.”

Why is Anzac day special to Australians?

Anzac Day commemorates the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. It was a battle that saw massive loss of life, particularly young life.

“When war broke out in 1914, Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only 13 years. The new national government was eager to establish its reputation among the nations of the world. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany.” Australian War Memorial

Anzac Day by Jo Castro and Dave Castro
Scenes from the march and ceremony later in the morning.

I’m linking today with Travel Photo Thursday. Pop over for some awesome travel photos and stories.

Did you commemorate Anzac Day – where in Australia, or the world were you?

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  1. In Canada we have Remembrance Day on November 11th – and again at any of the ceremonies it’s deathly quiet. The mood is always sombre and the weather usually cooperates – cold, grey and rainy.
    Your shots are beautiful.

  2. We seriously debated attending the dawn service on the Strand this year, but decided not to as B.H. has a full few days ahead of him making gates and fencing and he claimed he needed his rest. As I write this I can hear the welder working downstairs. I did my Anzac Post on Tuesday for my Tuesday in Townsville post. It is a teary occasion. Love your collage.

  3. Thanks Jan, and yes it is a teary occasion. Hope the welding went well;)

  4. You convey the mood of Remembrance Day well, Leigh. I always remember them as cold and grey in England too.

  5. I never last past ‘they shall not grow old …’ and I find it unbearably sad to see war memorials in tiny country towns with significant loss of life. SO appropriate that in South OZ, the break of season is usually associated with ANZAC Day and the march is usually held in a cold, misty drizzle.

  6. I know, Red. Me too. One of the most poignant places for me at any time of year is Memorial Drive in King’s Park. So young most of them 🙁

  7. Wow, what a pretty dawn to reward everyone for getting up so early to mark the Diggers’ sacrifice!
    Love the pics of the oldies….bless them! It’s kinda sad watching them age, and their number dwindle.
    Lest We Forget
    Such an important day for Aussies! And the Kiwis!

  8. Yep, the dawn colours were certainly a bonus, and perfectly reflected the Diggers’ sacrifice. Yes, watching them age and get thin on the ground is sad … but what’s great is that we keep on remembering. Thanks for popping by Tash 🙂

  9. Hi Jo, what a very poignant post. I could feel your strong emotions just from reading the first paragraph. What a beautiful way to memorialize the lives and valor of the ANZAC heroes. You photos are beautiful and evocative.

  10. Thank you , Marisol. Capturing the moment was the least I could do in honour of those who have given their lives for freedom, and thank you for saying you were moved.

  11. Thanks for telling me more about Anzac Day. Being from Puerto Rico, I didn’t know much about it. A solemn, warm hug from the islands on this day.

    – Maria Alexandra

  12. Thanks, Maria. Glad you enjoyed finding out more about Anzac Day 🙂

  13. Your photos do a beautiful job of conveying the mood of the day. I’m also Canadian and I always find Remembrance Day to be a very emotional day even though I’m too young to actually remember the major conflicts that Canada was involved in. What I do remember are my mother’s stories of her oldest brother going off to war when she was 5 and not returning until she was 12 and reading the letters that he wrote to her from Europe which she has kept carefully bundled up for decades. Last year we visited Juno Beach and the Canadian War Cemetery in Normandy and seeing the grave markers with the ages of the young soldiers engraved on them made my heart ache for the young men who sacrificed so much in service of their country. It is so important that we don’t forget the sacrifice that they made. Your post is a lovely tribute!

  14. Ahh Lisa, that is a poignant story. I know just what you mean about one’s heart aching for the loss of young life when you see all those graves lined up. And keeping them in the collective memory is so important 🙂

  15. Catherine

    Congratulations on your ANZAC day dawn photos, Jo. As we were driving in that morning we were mesmerised by the upcoming sunrise, and kicked ourselves for not having a camera to hand, hoping someone else would have captured the spectacular vista 🙂

  16. Wasn’t it gorgeous, Catherine? Thank You! I managed to shoot the deep crimson sky quite by chance really, and it was actually over so quickly.

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