A public holiday today for ANZAC Day remembrance. The best way to describe ANZAC Day is that it's a bit like Memorial Day in the USA. Its a day of remembrance for ex Servicemen and women , particularly those who have given their lives in the Service of their country, whether in times of war or during so call police actions and peace-keeping operations.
It started out as a March on 25 April 1916, a year to the day since Australians, British, French, and Indian troops landed at Gallipoli in Turkey, in a hare-brained Churchillian plan to storm the Dardanelles, take Constantinople/Istanbul, relieve the pressure on the Russians by attacking Germany from its Eastern and southern flanks and supposedly to shorten the war (World War 1).
The operation was basically a failure, and the troops, those who survived were evacuated in December 1915, sent to Egypt to regroup and await re-inforcements and then be sent headlong into the killing fields of France and Belgium.
The March by service personnel in London in 1916 was eventually replicated throuhout the length and breadth of Australia, and New Zealand, and each year in various parts of the world there are remembrance services for service personnel who have served Australia since that time.
Another part of the remembrance services is the Dawn Service. It was dawn on 25/4/1916 when the original ANZAC landings took place, and in the 1920's a couple of ex servicemen on their way home from a night of celebration stopped at the Cenotaph in Martin Place in Sydney, where they saw a lady laying a wreath in remembrance of a loved one. They stayed with her for a while, told their mates about it, and like topsy, it grew every year. This morning their would have been about 20,000 plus at the Dawn Service in Sydney, with similar numbers in other capital citys and obviously smaller numbrs in country towns and regional areas. The march itself attracts hundreds of thousands of spectactors with most of the city blocked to traffic, and spectactors lining city blocks from very early in the morning. The march usually kicks off about 9am and its after 1pm before the last group have passed the saluting dais.
"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. Lest We Forget.