Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Snap, Set & Song - ANZAC

This week's theme is one that, as an American, was a bit more of a challenge for me than most. ANZAC Day is celebrated this week in Australia and that was the basis for Thea's theme at A Snap, A Set and A Song this week (click on the link to have a look and maybe even join in with future themes). Thanks to the global reach of the internet, for the last few years I have had a number of friends who are Australian so have been aware of the day. (Thanks to the Australian Army website from where the following comes.)

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula. These became know as ANZACs and the pride they took in that name continues to this day.

On the morning of 25 April 1915, the ANZACs set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, and an ally of Germany.

The ANZACs landed on Gallipoli and met fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. Their plan to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months.

At the end of 1915, the allied forces were evacuated. Both sides suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers were killed. News of the landing on Gallipoli and the events that followed had a profound impact on Australians at home. The 25th of April soon became the day on which Australians remember the sacrifice of those who had died in the war.

The ANZACs were courageous and although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australian and New Zealand actions during the campaign left us all a powerful legacy.

ANZAC Day remembrance takes two forms. Commemorative services are held at dawn – the time of the original landing in Gallipoli– across the nation. Later in the day, ex-servicemen and women meet to take part in marches through the major cities and in many smaller centres. Commemorative ceremonies are more formal and are held at war memorials around the country.

A Snap

All snaps that I use in the themes will be photos that I myself have taken. At first, Thea (and I) thought that might be a problem for me since I have never been to Australia so therefore I have never taken part in any ANZAC Day services or seen an ANZAC Day parade. A friend did send me ANZAC biscuits* (cookies) a while ago, but they are long gone. But I only needed to turn to a place where I have taken more pictures than anywhere else - Walt Disney World, and the yearly International Food and Wine Festival held in EPCOT. While Australia does not have a permanent World Showcase pavilion in EPCOT, it does participate in the Food and Wine Festival. Since the ANZAC's were fighting for their homeland, here is my snap of some of those places they were fighting for.

A Set

The set was a bit easier, as I could create that in Photoshop and Illustrator using images from my own collection of graphics and those that I was able to grab from the web. 

A Song

Though not technically a song as you would think of one, Corporal Matthew Creek of the Royal Military College Band plays The Last Post at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. The Last Post is one of a number of bugle calls in military tradition that mark the phases of the day. In military tradition, the Last Post is the bugle call that signifies the end of the day's activities. It is also sounded at military funerals to indicate that the soldier has gone to his final rest and at commemorative services such as ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day.

And finally I would like to end this week's Snap, Set and Song with something to put it all in perspective for today's Australia.

* The ANZAC Biscuit
During World War One, the friends and families of soldiers and community groups sent food to the fighting men. Due to the time delays in getting food items to the front lines, they had to send food that would remain edible, without refrigeration, for long periods of time that retained high nutritional value; the ANZAC biscuit met this need.

Although there are variations, the basic ingredients are: rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda, and boiling water.

The biscuit was first known as the Soldiers’ Biscuit. The current name, ANZAC Biscuit, has as much to do with Australia’s desire to recognize the ANZAC tradition and the ANZAC biscuit as part of the staple diet at Gallipoli.

The ANZAC biscuit is one of the few commodities that are able to be legally marketed in Australia using the word ‘ANZAC’, which is protected by Federal Legislation.


  1. This is absolutely wonderful, Mark!
    I have goosebumps!!

  2. I too have goosebumps, and tears. We attended a Dawn Service yesterday and it was sombre, heavy, but uplifting all at the same time, if possible. The Last Post sends chills down my spine every time. I did a bit of research myself yesterday, and learned things which, as an Aussie, I probably should have known earlier than at 34 years of age! thanks for learning about and sharing our day with your snap, set and a song!

    1. I certainly understand your feelings regarding The Last Post. The US version would be TAPS, which serves the same functions for the US military.

  3. Thank you for writing this piece on ANZAC Day.

    As usual, I attended a Dawn Service yesterday morning. I shed a few tears as I thought of those who fought and died, those who fought and came home with terrible wounds (both visible and invisible) and those who are still sleeping in warm beds because of the sacrifice of others. I thought of my grandfather who was captured in the fall of Singapore and spent the remainder of his time in WW2 in a POW Camp. He watched many comrades suffer and die. He came home and passed away on the anniversary of his capture in 1976. I thought of my father who fought on the Kakoda Track in New Guinea. He came home carrying physical injuries and malaria in his system which tortured him for the rest of his life. I thought of my mother, who was permanently disabled as she intently listened to military radio in an effort to detect the enemy movements around our country. And I thought of my sons and hoped they would never have to face those things my parents faced in protecting the country and people they love.

  4. What a wonderful well written piece.

    Glad you liked mine :)

  5. Isn't it wonderful the way the virtual world can lead to learning new things about the actual world. I love that you took the time to learn and write about something that is important to many Australians.
    I just returned from international night at my son's middle school. Next year I will know what is going on and arrive with Anzac biscuits.

    1. The world in the digital age is an amazing place. Growing up I traveled extensively, yet since the internet became a part of every day living, I have met so many people, and learned so much about them and about where they live. It is certainly life enriching.

  6. Very moving. I love your choices for the snap, set and song. :)

  7. Thanks Mark, that was really beautiful. xx