ANZAC Day celebrations (25 April 2012)
The ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day commemorations, this year marking the 97th anniversary of the Gallipoli battle in which more than 10,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers lost their lives during the WWI, paid tribute to all Australian soldiers in all conflicts.
Commemorations were held on the Gallipoli battle site, with the participation of Julia Gillard, the Australian Prime Minister (read her speech), in the Pacific region, and also in the main cities of France and Australia.
Following these commemorations, held around Australia from dawn, the Embassy of France in Canberra paid tribute before its own memorial monument to the Diggers by the placing of wreaths and the singing of the national anthems.
The statement below was made by the Ambassador of France, H.E. Mr. Stéphane Romatet, at this occasion.
Gallipoli, 1915, Western Front in France, 1916.
97 years ago now, the youth of Australia was heading to Europe, to our old Europe, to participate in this great nightmare that was the first World War.
Today, the Prime Minister of Australia, Ms Gillard, is in Gallipoli. She keeps alive the memory of the sacrifice of your young countrymen.
In Canberra, in a few hours, the sun will start fading away from the horizon. At the same moment, in France, the sun will rise over Fromelles, over Villiers-Bretonneux, over Cassel, over all these villages which were bathed in the blood of young ANZAC soldiers. The “sonnerie aux morts”, the “last post bugle”, will sound and echo from village to village. At that moment, my countrymen will stand still a moment; they will meditate, thinking of the sacrifice of the 60,000 Australian soldiers who died on the Western Front. In these villages of France today, my fellow citizen will feel Australians.
Here in Canberra, we remember too. We remember our grandparents, our great-grandparents who were the witnesses, who were the victims of this senseless war that ravaged our countries.
At the end of the war, exhausted, they had only one message: never again.
To maintain their memory, to continue to carry their message: that is our duty.
ANZAC fighters, youth of Australia, we know what we owe you. We will never forget.
Lest we forget.
Last updated: 01/05/2012