Anzac Day – It Makes a Grown Man Cry…

(If you made it through the entire video without shedding a tear you must be made of sterner stuff than i)

April 25 – ANZAC Day

“Waltzing Matilda” is a very famous Australian folk song and a “Matilda” was the name given to the pack that Australian farm workers carried on their backs.

To “Waltz Matilda” meant to carry your pack of belongings through the bush.

The song “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda” by Eric Bogle is about Australian and New Zealand soldiers ( Army Corps – ANZAC’s) who fought against Turkish troops and died in the Battle of Gallipoli in World War I.

On 25 April 1915, the Anzacs as part of the British Contingent under their operational command landed at a difficult and desolate spot on the Gallipoli peninsula and the Turks appeared to be ready for them, a defeat was inevitable, The Gallipoli campaign was a debacle, Military censorship prevented the true story being told but a young Australian journalist, Keith Murdoch (father of Australian newspaper tycoon Rupert Murdoch) smuggled the story about the scale of the Dardanelles disaster back to the Australian Prime Minister who sent it on to the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, who was no friend of the British military establishment. It led directly to the dismissal of the British commander, Sir Ian Hamilton who never again was to hold a senior military position.A British Royal Commission into Gallipoli concluded that from the outset the risk of failure outweighed Its chances of success. The British had contributed 468,000 in the battle for Gallipoli with 33,512 killed. 7,636 missing and 78,000 wounded.
The ANZACs lost 8,000 men in Gallipoli and a further 18,000 were wounded. The remaining ANZACs went on to serve with distinction in Palestine and on the western front in France.

Anzac Day in Australia commemorates the sacrifice made by many ( it was all in vain – a retreat had to be ordered and nothing was ‘gained’ – other than a somehwat curious National Pride in a terrible defeat, at the way our troops performed in the face of what was basically unavoidable death and maiming – and all  for a ‘foreign’ Power. It is considered one of Australia’s defining traditions, possibly surpassing The Boston Tea Party as an act that helped form and define a  nation.

Anyone who listens to the whole song can get a feeling for the futility of war, and the fact that today many Australians are in a somewhat similar situation in Afghanistan, and formely in Iraq, almost 100 years on and nothing seems to have been learned from the Sacrifices so many made – in many cases quite pointlessly, or not for the point they were led to believe was the case – says a lot about those who lead us, then and  today.

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8 thoughts on “Anzac Day – It Makes a Grown Man Cry…

  1. The Movie Gallipoli is incredible. And tells the story of this Battle. I remember watching it with my Dad. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it.

    War made from the thoughts of man is quite pointless, as are many other things made from the thoughts of man….

    Thanks for sharing this Love

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  2. Love the historical stuff.

    I work in the educational industry and sell history materials to school systems. I love taking pieces like this to use when I speak to kids…..very very cool and yes, tearful!

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  3. That is a beautiful, sad, song, with an important message that not many choice to listen to. I will be thinking of your fallen country men today.

    I have add that video to my library and will post it on my blog and Twitter page.

    Through history young people have marched off to war being cheered as heroes. Countless generations then learn the same lesson, there is no glory in war, just death and destruction. Every generation then promptly forget this lesson.

    I am not a pacifies. When someone attacks our family and home, we should defend ourselves. War however should always be our last choice, when everything else has failed.

    When our leaders pump out their chest, and call on us to sacrifice our lives with messages of patriotism, we need to ask the critical question, “Why?”. We don’t and history repeats itself, over and over.

    I remember the debate over the design of the war memorial, to the American soldiers who died in Viet Nam, that now stands in my nations capital Most political leaders and veterans organizations wanted a traditional, heroic, style of architecture.

    What was built was a simple wall listing the names of all the men and women who died. Many Americans were outraged, calling it a “wall of shame”. They were right, it is a wall of shame. An America that sent these men and women off to die for no good reson should be ashamed.

    After 6 years, and 58,000 killed, the polls showed that over 50% of Americans still supported that war. It would not surprise me that if a poll was taken now, most Americans would still say we were right to fight that war.

    I will join you in your thoughts for your lost country men. I will hope, as you pray, that someday we will come to understand the futility, horror, that is war. I have no clue when that day will come.

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  4. Joseph – thank you and i would be happy to be linked to your site.

    http://www.abc.net.au/innovation/gallipoli/

    it is an interactive site of our National Broadcaster, the ABC (yes, we have one of those as well) 😉 showing something of what War was like a hundered years ago as Australia for the First real ly serious time went into battle under it’s own recently formed country’s Armed Services, albeit under the broader control of the British Army Command of WW1 – The war to end ALL wars! :-/

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  5. Ed – yet again i find myself in large agreement with your thoughts and ideas 🙂

    One of the hardest things for me to accept about VietNam was that America was able to have neded the war severalyears before it finally did – and could have saved Hundreds of thousands of lives and much misery on both sides – but the actions of a couple of proud and foolish men ensured that the chance for peace in 1968 was lost, as they believed America would ‘win’ VietNam because they underestimated the desperation and abilities of a third world country and it’s people (who admittedly were being supported by China militarily).

    Seems the lessons that History could have taught many were sadly forgotten when Iraq ‘happened’.

    One of those lessons should have been you can’t always trust the People you elected to power to tell you the Full Truth when war is concerned and you really ought to look into the matter carefully to separate the truth from the self serving propaganda of those in Power.

    Particularly when it is your sons ( and now daughters) who are dying for them and never their own.

    Perhaps if the German People had looked more carefully into what Hitler and the Third Reich were telling them they might have not been so willing to cause such massive mayhem to the world?

    Will humans ever learn??

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  6. thanks for this little glimpse into australian history. i have never really had the chance to know very much about some of your defining moments.

    war…movies about war, even…always make me cry. without fail. it pains my heart so much.

    on the other hand. friends and family of mine are or were hard-working, selfless serving members of the national guard, army, and navy and my hats are off to them for doing what they feel in their hearts is right for them and for the country they’re serving.

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