Sunday, November 17, 2013


April 25th is Anzac Day, a day which honours all the Australians and New Zealanders who have fought and lost their lives in war, though the day specifically marks the landing of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) forces in Gallipoli. This cove, renamed ANZAC Cove in 1985, is where thousands of Australians and New Zealanders travel to each April for commemorative services on the 25th.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who became a national hero during the Gallipoli Campaign and eventually founded the Turkish Republic, offered these words to the ANZACs:
"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours... you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."

The first time I heard this song, I was nine. We were living in Istanbul then, and a teacher played it during a history class— I don't know which version it was, but the effect it had on me was powerful to say the least. It still brings tears to my eyes.


Caroline Alexander said...

Eric Bogle, an expat Scot now resident in Australia, wrote the lyrics to this song. Its played regularly each Anzac Day, not to diminish the Anzacs, but to mourn the waste of that young generation in what was a futile exercise and responsible for too many deaths. His version is also far superior, IMNSHO, than the Pogues. Its one of several moving anti-war songs that Eric Bogle has penned and sung that includes "No Mans Land".

szaza said...

I just heard Eric Bogle's version, and it is indeed lovely— thank you for sharing, Caroline!