For the 120,000 people in attendance at this morning’s Dawn Service at the Australian War Memorial, Anzac Day began at around 3am (perhaps even earlier for those keen to get a good seat).
As the dawn rose just after 5:30am, I joined the thousands gathered at the Australian War Memorial to commemorate the 2015,100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli landings. It was a moving and beautiful ceremony and I was impressed that in a crowd that large, people walked slowly, made way for others and nodded silently to each other in the slow procession into the memorial or as they headed off to breakfast.
Earlier in the week I had heard a random advertisement asking people to celebrate Anzac day and I thought, surely they must mean commemorate? No matter how much bling Anzac Day gets, it does not take away that among or outside the crowds there is a father that misses his brother and a cousin who didn’t get to know his father the way I knew mine. I do not know what my Great Great Uncle who travelled from Bendigo to Belgium only to be buried next to a beautiful cornfield in Ypres at 35 years of age, who wrote poetic letters home in the beautiful handwriting, would make of a celebratory all-you-can-eat Anzac buffet?
I hope these images represent respectfully the way we commemorate Anzac Day and that the people I saw there today remember that this is one of the ways we publicly acknowledge what we cannot remember, but do not celebrate or glorify.