Saturday, 26 April 2008

Scrapping the memories you no longer have photos of

OK, here's a tricky quandary.

Yesterday was ANZAC day in Australia - one of the days on which we remember the sacrifices made by Australian troops on battlefields around the world.

The date commemorates the 1915 landing on the Gallipoli peninsula in the Dardanelles with the objective to knock Turkey out of the war.

The attack lasted nine months and failed utterly due to poor planning, poor communications and poor leadership on the part of some of the senior staff.

The most successful part of the operation was the withdrawal from the peninsula with all the troops being evacuated for few losses.

Most Australians either know someone who's relatives fought in the battle or died in the battle, but for many the family photographs no longer exist, and the memories, long dead, are mixed in the mythos of the ANZAC legend.

Remembering becomes much more complex without the tangibles like photographs and diaries.

Fortunately the amount of information about the campaign and the fact that so many young Australians travel to Gallipoli each year must be proving a wealth of new material.

Remarkably, the fact that Australians invaded Turkey has not been the cause for long standing enmity between Australia and Turkey - just the opposite. There is an enduring respect that was born of that battle, probably summed up best by one of the Turkish commanders, and later President of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

"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 where they lie side by side here in this country of ours… You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."

"Lest We Forget" has been the motto of ANZAC day since its inception, and I can't think of a more appropriate to uphold that by scrapping if not the relics of that history, then the new memories we create in commemorating it.


Binxcat1 said...

here, here... lest we forget.

Morti said...

Such a sad loss, Scrapbook Widower not having any new posts since April!!!!

Where are you Grendel?