Wednesday, April 25, 2018

ANZAC DAY today

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Today is ANZAC Day, which Wikipedia explains as
 a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served".
But the ANZAC troops are also remembered in other countries, and especially at the Commonwealth War Cemeteries in Israel and nearby Gaza.


Here in the Negev we have the beautiful Beersheba War Cemetery.
Some of the graves are of Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers.  
The administering Commonwealth War Graves Commission says that 
The cemetery was made immediately on the fall of the town [Oct. 1917], remaining in use until July 1918, by which time 139 burials had been made. It was greatly increased after the Armistice when burials were brought in from a number of scattered sites and small burial grounds. The cemetery now contains 1,241 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 67 of them unidentified.

 A Jewish officer's tombstone says
FAR FROM HOME, CLOSE IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO LOVED HIM. 
The pebbles on top are left as a traditional sign of respect by visitors to his grave.



Written in Welsh.
And a little LEST WE FORGET cross.


The traditional red poppy on the cross and one stuck in the ground.
HIS DUTY DONE.


A trooper from New Zealand.
Someone added the Kiwi's photo.


An Australian from the famous Light Horse brigade.


A New Zealander from the Mounted Rifles.


The unidentified ones are the saddest.
AN AUSTRALIAN SOLDIER OF THE GREAT WAR
KNOWN UNTO GOD



"In memory of a Ballarat boy.  Trooper Thomas Bell was aged just 16 when he died of wounds received in the charge*.
All gave some, some gave all."

[* i.e. the mounted charge on the Turkish trenches, to liberate Beer Sheva.]



The tall white structure is the Cross of Sacrifice, standard for all Commonwealth War Cemeteries around the world.

The Visitors Book, with lots of information, in the wall near the always-open entrance gate.


In the background is Beer Sheva's new and wonderful ANZAC Memorial Centre.
More on that in a future blog post.


One of the dedicated and caring Arab gardening team planting more flowers. 
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Thank you, brave ANZAC soldiers, for turning the tide of World War I down here in the Negev desert that I now call home.   Your memory will live on! 
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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.
-- fourth stanza from Laurence Binyon's poem For the Fallen, 1914
(See more about this cemetery and about commemorations in Beer Sheva in 3 previous posts.  See also my posts about ANZAC Day in Jerusalem.)
More about this and other Australia places in Beer Sheva:  http://www.kkl-jnf.org/tourism-and-recreation/israeli-heritage-sites/anzac-trail/sites/anzac-sites-beersheba/
How the Australian army talks about ANZAC Day:  https://www.army.gov.au/our-history/traditions/anzac-day
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(Linking to inSPIREd SundayOur World Tuesday and to  ABC Wednesday -- p is for poppy.)
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13 comments:

William Kendall said...

The organization that handles the Commonwealth war graves all over the world do great work. There's a video out there on its history that Michael Palin narrated that I've got in my collection. From the large cemeteries to the spots that might have one or two graves, they're all tended.

Dina said...

William, I totally agree. I have utmost respect for the CWGC.

ABC Wednesday said...

They do great work... it is a good think to keep remembering what happened... next week we celebrate it again overhere... but still I feel so sorry for all those people who still are in a warzone


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Alice said...

Thank you for the informative post Dina

Sandi said...


"Known unto God."

That took my breath away.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

A wonderful post. I wish that was the War that ended all wars.

The View from the Top of the Ladder

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Beautiful tribute Dina, it's such an emotional time. It breaks my heart when I think of all the young men who died, even more so when I think it could happen again. I wish the men who manipulate war would actually have to go in and physically fight in them, might make them consider communicating a little more .

Kay L. Davies said...

I'm crying here, Dina. So many sad graves, so many beautiful words, so many broken hearts, so many tributes to the fallen. I have always had an emotional tie to WW1 and WW2...my grandfather lived through the first, and my father the second. Grandpa never said much about his war, but Dad was in the Canadian Army Show, entrusted to keep up the morale of the troops, and he did have some interesting stories to tell.
A few years ago we visited a war cemetery in France, where a memorial had just been made to my mother's cousin whose plane went down in a French forest. Several men, early in this century, spent years looking for the plane and, when they found it, Cousin Harry was memorialized at a WW2 cemetery outside Paris. We were unable to get there for the ceremony, but family members told us it was wonderful.
I always cry, but I am so glad that so many civilians took the time to identify bodies of fallen soldiers, and to give them a proper burial. The saddest tombstones, though, were the ones without names.
Kay
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Roger Owen Green said...

I never knew ANZAC Day was celebrated elsewhere!

Tom said...

...Dina, such a somber sight to see these markers lined up in rows. Old politicians send the young to fight their wars, I wonder if we will ever learn from our past mistakes. Thanks for sharing.

Jim said...

So sad seeing so many souls were lost. A fitting tribute.

Bill Nicholls said...

Been to a few here in the UK and I aways think it was such a waste of life

Kay said...

It is indeed a beautiful place, but sad.