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ANZAC Day 2019

On ANZAC Day our school joined together to commemorate the soldiers who have fought for our country. This year OAGS was led by The Orange Cadet Unit (252ACU), their first official ceremonial duty since completing their basic training.

Adelaide Webster, Year 10 student, was awarded the 2018 Inaugural DUX of Leap. This award is presented to a student of the LEAP programme who has excelled in team based STEM and ARTS activities combined with physical activity and outstanding academic performance in the students' individual classes. Here Adelaide reflects on her thoughts regarding the Gallipoli campaign and her recent trip to Anzac Cove.

ANZAC Day 2019

On a recent trip to the fabled shores of Anzac Cove, while standing in the dreary mist of North-Western Turkey, looking down at the once blood bathed and bullet ridden shores of ANZAC Cove, it became so real and almost impossible for me to imagine myself in such a situation as of the ANZACS on the 25th of April 1915. As their reality is a mere story to us, how then, in a world where we are more concerned about personal matters, can we truly recognise, truly understand and commemorate the thousands of Australian lives that were unmistakably sacrificed for a cause so inhumane, over 100 years ago, properly in our lives today?

In the last summer holidays, I was granted the amazing opportunity to visit the Middle East with my family. We travelled around Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Turkey, seeing such surreal and truly mind-blowing places that I am surely never going to forget. One of these places happened to be Gallipoli, and it certainly did not disappoint. We visited the well-known sites, such as ‘ANZAC Cove’, ‘Ari Burnu’, ‘North Beach’, ‘Lone Pine’, ‘Chanuk Bair’ and the ‘Nek’, however the most eye-opening part was seeing just how close the trenches and frontlines were to each other, and how friends and foe lived and fought side by side, with only 3-4 metres of “no-mans land” separating the two. How so many lives were lost in such a small amount of space and time was truly astonishing to me. The overwhelming peacefulness of the shorelines and green hills that surrounded Gallipoli was certainly not the grief-evoking experience I was expecting when visiting these places. Instead, the rocky shores, well-kept green lawns and large evergreen trees made the whole experience feel more like a stroll through a park rather than a walk through a once deadly and gruesome battlefield, where thousands of our ancestors lost their lives. This experience was so moving and eye-opening, it got me to really respect and wonder about the importance of this event in our lives today, and why it should not, and will never be forgotten in our society.

The Gallipoli campaign was inevitably one of the biggest failures in history, from the poor planning and execution of the first attack on the Dardanelles, to the poor choice of the landing sites and the trench warfare that raged on for over nine months, with no victory, sacrificing lives that could have otherwise been spared. If only the campaign was better formulated and conducted, then Australians, New Zealanders, English, Irish, French, Welsh, Indians and the Turkish would have been spared the grief and traumatic consequences of the loss of their soldiers’ lives, and ANZAC Day would be a celebration of success, rather than a day of sadness.

My visit to Gallipoli has really widened my perception of the events that took place in Turkey over 100 years ago, and my understanding on how if a little bit of compassion and sensitivity was shown to these soldiers, the outcome could have been considerably different. I now understand that because of this ruthless and blood-thirsty debacle, people don’t commemorate ANZAC Day around the world just because lives were lost, or just because it is ‘the right thing to do’, rather I think people mourn on the 25th of April each year because of the lack of sympathy, love and compassion that was shown to these soldiers and their pointless sacrifice. It is through commemoration and remembrance that the compassion which was absent during their lifetime can at last be bestowed to the soldiers who brutally lost their lives fighting for our country.

Adelaide Webster

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