We are now 101 years on from the first Anzac Day commemorations in 1916. These services were held on the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landings of 1915.
Over the decades, Anzac Day has changed. Services have become more secular, and now involve many families and community groups along with former and serving members of the armed forces. The first Anzac Day services were held in churches and halls. As memorials were built throughout the 1920s, many services – particularly dawn services – moved outdoors.
More wars have happened (and are happening), and we now remember those who served and died in the Second World War, Malaya, Korea, Vietnam, and many others, along with UN peacekeeping missions. Over the years Anzac Day has been the focus of anti-war, anti-nuclear, and anti-violence protests. It has been commemorated by Australians and New Zealanders all over the world, including Gallipoli. New migrant New Zealanders commemorate their own histories of war and sacrifice.
For more on the history of Anzac Day, NZ History has a good article.
Anzac Day can mean many things. For some, it is a time to remember a relative or friend who died. For others, it is a time to reflect on the futility of war. For others, it is a time to gather as a community and remember what people have fought and died for.
Ara libraries will be closed for Anzac Day on Tuesday, 25th April.