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Australians All Let Us Rejoice

Australians all let us rejoice, For we are young and free.

On April 25th 1915 the brave men of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula. With acts of courage, mateship and pride the ANZAC spirit was born.

92 years later a new group of Aussies and Kiwis arrived at Gallipoli, walking the same ground as our Anzac heroes but without the hostilities of the Turkish defence. Many hope to understand the situation, others search for answers and for others it is an opportunity to show their respect and appreciation for those fallen before them.

You walk along the Peninsula taking in and visualising what our Anzacs were up against. You come to a statue, a Turkish soldier carrying a wounded British soldier away from the battlefield. You then realise there is even more to this ANZAC story, accounts from those brave Turkish men defending their country with the same courage and mateship.

You reach Lone Pine, a single Pine tree amongst countless headstones, a place with an overwhelming sense of sadness, but also a place where our Anzacs fought with such fearlessness and pride. It will always be remembered as a brutal fight consisting of much hand to hand battle. Seven Victoria Crosses were awarded to Australian Soldiers. We suffered much loss, over 2000 Australian lives were lost, the Turkish loss also being vast. With most of these losses in an area no larger than 2 tennis courts. You walk around with these brave soldiers lying below you, many of them un-named or un-identified, most remembered on a huge plaque magnifying how much loss was suffered. ‘Their name liveth for evermore.’ You read headstones, with emotional and everlasting messages etched into them, ‘He died to save Australia, our ANZAC hero.’ You see that some of these men were younger than you, some the same age as you. You realise that it is these heroes, that fought with so much spirit for the freedom of Australia and for the freedom of its young population, they fought for the freedom of me and you.

You see the trenches, you visit the Turkish memorial. More stories of mateship and camaraderie, this time it is the Turkish soldiers praising our ANZACS. Praising their bravery and friendship out in the field of battle. Stories of opposing trenches being so close that they could exchange ‘gifts’, food, cigarettes and meat that the Turkish often threw back because they didn’t like it. It is incredible in thinking that such mutual respect and humour could me maintained in such a hostile and agonizing environment.

You get some of your first glimpses of Anzac Cove, you see the terrain that our soldiers had to battle against. It becomes clearer how difficult the landing would have been. You come to the Nek, a battle where our men were heroically running to certain death. Our men in the trenches waiting for the command that would see them run hopelessly but always bravely into enemy fire. But always running, no hesitation. They were mates, brothers running side by side. It is impossible to completely understand the emotions that must have been running in their minds. Trooper Harold Rush died in the third wave, his epitaph with his final words read ‘Goodbye cobber, God Bless You’

Onto Chunuk Bair, the scene of one of the only success for the allies in the campaign. Unfortunately a success that was short lived, the Turks soon recaptured the site and were never to relinquish it. It is here that our New Zealand soldiers fought with the bravery and courage that epitomises the ANZAC spirit.

As you get closer to Anzac Cove you come to the beach cemetery, a place where one of the most famous of Australian soldiers is buried. John Simpson ‘The man with the donkey’ is just one of thousands of stories throughout the campaign but one that exemplifies how the ANZAC spirit was so alive in Gallipoli. A man that put the lives of his mates before his own, he was mortally wounded in Shrapnel Gully at the age of 22. ‘He died that others may live’.

You walk to Anzac Cove, a beach of merely 600 metres, you take in all of your surroundings, and you ask yourself how our men were ever meant to complete the near impossible task of landing. They land under direct gunfire, many drowning in the deep waters, weighed down by their packs. They try to run, there isn’t sand, just rocks. There is confusion, there is death, the water is red, they have no choice but to run. Some reach cliffs, there is no cover, they are forced to dig trenches using their bayonet’s, always under fire, many scared but always brave.

We sleep out, no-one complains about the cold. It is nothing compared to what the ANZACS had to endure, it is one night and we all show our respect. We are with our mates, we are surrounded by thousands of new mates, all there to share their respect for our mighty ANZACS. Many have Australian and New Zealand flags draped over them. We hear stories about bravery, courage, heroism and mateship, everyone listens, everyone is proud. The Dawn Service begins. We hear the anthems of our countries, we hear people speak both proudly and solemnly, we listen to the Last Post, not a sound during the 2 minute silence. Australians and New Zealanders of all ages share this emotional experience. Different feelings of pride, sadness, anger and disbelief. Some hug, some cry, some smile. There is no shame, just mateship, ANZAC spirit. All the time the ridges behind us slowly come into the dawn light, you turn and look with thoughts of our men bravely fighting for the future of our 2 young and beautiful countries.

The service ends, you walk to Lone Pine, you walk to Chunuk Bair. You walk side by side with Australians, New Zealanders and the Turkish. You share your experience with the rest of your mates. Another beautiful service, again you are proud, again you are sad, but always you have the spirit of the ANZACS with you.

You leave Gallipoli with lifelong and for some life-changing experiences, you have a greater understanding of the ANZAC spirit. You are never prouder. You are all Brothers and Sisters in arms, and then you have a beer. That is how our courageous and loved ANZACS would have wanted it.
Tue 01/05/2007 Ryan "spider" Everett 961 views

9 Comments about this article

  • If you had of written that in our year 12 history exam Mrs Tonkin would have creamed her pants. And you would probably have a boring 9-5 job now like the rest of us losers instead of touring the world with hot chicks!! Good stuff mate, keep it up. your doing your dad proud!!!

    Posted by Brett Anderson Thu May 03, 2007 11:26am AEST
  • fysie, that was amazing! u mad me cry ;-) What an amazing experience you had.Thanks for sharing it. Your a fantastic writer ry!! love you! xox

    Posted by Brittany Corr Thu May 03, 2007 12:23pm AEST
  • Bang on. I couldnt have put it better myself, well i probably could have but it would have taken me too long to type. Ando is speaking for himself when he says losers. And your dad is proud!!

    Posted by Michael Sanger Thu May 03, 2007 12:50pm AEST
  • WOW!! makes me want to go even more! You def have a way with words xx

    Posted by Nicole Knights Thu May 03, 2007 05:44pm AEST
  • Well Done my cousin! That was a very moving article. I never knew you could write so well. Keep it up mate!

    Posted by Rodney Spruhan Thu May 03, 2007 06:23pm AEST
  • Nice one Spider, but I can't get past the sight of your alabaster-white arse when you streaked at the cricket at the servo in Turkey.

    Posted by Paul Webster Thu May 03, 2007 08:59pm AEST
  • Brilliant as always Spider! ANZAC Day 2007 will stay with me forever, sharing it with my closest mates was something special - Brothers in arms.
    Let the ANZAC spirit live on!!

    Posted by Patrick Boyle Thu May 03, 2007 09:23pm AEST
  • Hey Spider, that was well written. Thanks for an awesome time. It was great meeting you all. Catch up soon. Kiwi

    Posted by Delyse Luscombe Fri May 04, 2007 08:37pm AEST
  • Amazing Spide... You have managed to described what i have found so hard to put into words. Definitely something i will always remember! Have passed the link on to all my fam... they are impressed!

    Posted by Katie Davison Thu May 24, 2007 02:20am AEST

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