Australians mark centenary of Gallipoli battle

Record crowds attend events marking landing troops from Australia, New Zealand in Turkey’s Canakkale in WWI

Australians mark centenary of Gallipoli battle

World Bulletin / News Desk

The 100th anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps on the shores of Turkey’s Canakkale saw the often-fractured face of multicultural Australia unite as one under the ANZAC legend banner Saturday.

Across the country, record crowds attended dawn services marking the dawn landing in “ANZAC Cove” a century ago, as thousands lined the streets to pay tribute to those who fought in the World War I battle. Defense force veterans and personnel marched in parades in Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and hundreds of regional centers.

Gallipoli -- Canakkale in Turkish -- holds a special place in Australian hearts, with ANZAC Day arguably being the country’s most important national occasion.

Jon Faine, ABC 774’s top-rated morning radio broadcaster, covered the events in Melbourne, where massive crowds weren't deterred by heightened security in the wake of raids last weekend and the arrest of five men who were allegedly planning a Daesh-inspired ANZAC Day attack.

"What struck me this year was the scale of the crowds and the ethnic mix. It was far more diverse than usual," Faine told The Anadolu Agency.

"A vast number of people, who I would describe as recent settlers in Australia, from India, Asia and the Middle East, were there with their children saying, ‘we want our children to connect to this because this is part of what it means to become Australian’."

Faine said the diverse mix of ethnic backgrounds was "unprecedented in my 20 years experience" of covering ANZAC Day commemorations.

A crowd of 85,000 flocked to Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance to pay their respects to Australia's war dead, while up to 30,000 people attended the main Sydney dawn service in Martin Place.

In Canberra, a crowd of 120,000 people gathered at the Australian War Memorial where, the ABC reports, there was standing room only.

Dr. Brendan Nelson, director of the Australian War Memorial, said he’s proud of this year’s Dawn Service attendance.

"It fills me with pride that so many people have come to commemorate ANZAC Day, on this most significant national occasion, at the Australian War Memorial," Nelson said.

"One hundred years after the landing on Gallipoli, this day resonates deeply with Australians young and old and it is heartening to see so many people at the Memorial and in other services around the country.

He stressed, however, that despite the focus on the centenary, "it’s important to also remember the commitment and sacrifices of all our servicemen and servicewomen in conflicts since the First World War, and those who continue to serve today."

Faine referred to Melbourne's Federation Square, which was a sea of hand-knitted poppies, woven individually and donated from around the world to honor fallen soldiers.

Called The Poppy Project, it was the brainchild of Melbourne resident Lynn Berry, who began the exercise two years ago when she put out a call requesting 120 poppies to honor her father, who served in World War II.

Berry took the project online and through a blog post, ended up receiving more than 250,000 poppies from all over Australia and overseas.

"This became a way for many, particularly rural women, to connect and be part of the day," Faine said.

Asked what impression he was left with after digesting the day’s events, Faine told AA: "That the values of a multicultural, inclusive, secular, progressive Australia were on display today.”

Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Nisan 2015, 16:35