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Australian service members aboard Quantico to host Anzac Day remembrance ceremony

20 Apr 2015 | Eve A. Baker Marine Corps Base Quantico

On April 24 at 12:30 p.m., a time that coincides with dawn remembrance services on April 25 in eastern Australia, a ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landing at Gallipolli, Turkey, during World War I will be held at the Semper Fi Chapel at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

“For the vast majority of Australians, Anzac Day is the most important day of the year, when we commemorate the service of all those men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our nation,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Moore, the Australian Army liaison officer to Marine Corps Combat Development Command.

On April 25, 1915, the invasion began at dawn, and the goal was to seize the Gallipolli peninsula and open the Dardanelles strait for the Allies. The terrain was mountainous and unforgiving, and the fighting was fierce on both sides. The eight-month battle ended in a stalemate, with the Anzacs withdrawing, according to an Australian Army website.

More than 8,700 Australians and 2,700 New Zealanders were killed in the campaign, along with thousands from other Allied nations and from Turkey, and though the military objectives were not met, the Anzac soldiers’ bravery inspired their countrymen back home.

“Anzac Day was a seminal moment for both young nations,” said Moore. “The Anzacs showed their mettle in a battle on the world stage, thus demonstrating Australia and New Zealand had arrived as credible nations within the global community.”

Today, Anzac Day is a day for honoring all those who have been injured or killed in battle since the founding of Australia and New Zealand, and Moore likened it to a combination of Memorial Day and Veterans Day in the United States.

Moore is one of three Australian Army personnel working aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, and there is a New Zealand Army officer as well. All four individuals were involved in planning the commemoration ceremony.

Moore said the service will follow the format of traditional remembrance services back in Australia, with an Anzac Day address, the playing of Last Post [the equivalent of the American “Taps”], a minute of silence and prayers.

Navy and Marine Corps personnel will also  provide chaplain and musical support to the service, and Moore said all the Australian personnel are grateful for their assistance.

— Writer: ebaker@quanticosentryonline.com