Tomorrow I will be celebrating my fourth Anzac day as a missionary in Melbourne Australia. It began as a holiday held on April 25 to honor those from Australia and New Zealand who fought in Turkey during World War I. Today it recognizes all of those who have fought or given their lives in battle.
In 1915, the Anzac (Australian New Zealand Army Corps) fought alongside allied forces under a plan created by Winston Churchill to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula. This would free up the seas for allied navies and help capture Istanbul, and control the Ottoman empire, which was an ally of Germany. Instead of a quick attack, the Gallipoli campaign lasted for eight months and ended with allied forces evacuating the area. The casualties included 8,709 dead from Australia, and 2,721 dead from New Zealand.
On April 30, 1915 when the first news of the landing in Gallipoli reached New Zealand they declared a half day holiday. Since then April 25 has been a day when we remember the sacrifices of not only those at Gallipoli, but also all other soldiers who lost their lives defending Australia.
While other Australian holidays are enjoyable, Anzac day is probably my favorite because it honors past and present veterans who sacrificed for their country. Those who selflessly gave up their safety or lives for the sake of others definitely deserve to be given honor and recognition. While Anzac day is a blessing because it helps us take a moment to stop and think about those past sacrifices, I can’t help but see the connection between Easter Sunday (April 24) and Anzac day (April 25).
The men and women who risk everything for our freedom should be remembered. But our Lord and Savior who gave HIs very life for mankind should be remembered as well. Sadly during all the parades, ceremonies, speeches, and services to honor the veterans of Australia and New Zealand, few if any will remember Christ’s sacrifice. May on the days we celebrate independence and honor war heros the greatest sacrifice of all paid by Jesus Christ not be forgotten.