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Anzac Day

Gallipoli memorial sculpture, Melbourne

Gallipoli memorial sculpture, Melbourne

25 April – Anzac Day – is the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during World War I. “In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula … [they] landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders … At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated from the peninsula, with both sides having suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships.” (source)

The Australian Turkish Friendship Memorial Sculpture, known as “Seeds of Friendship” (artist Matthew Harding), was erected in Melbourne to mark the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, and those shared “great hardships”.

Gallipoli memorial sculpture, Melbourne

Gallipoli memorial sculpture, Melbourne

These words from Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (a Turkish divisional commander at Gallipoli, and Turkey’s first president after WWI) appear around the base of the sculpture:

“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.”

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