“We will remember them.”
It’s always an interesting experience to celebrate another nation’s holiday. As Americans, we do that a lot. We like to take the holidays of other groups and turn them into our own. Any excuse for a party. I’m totally guilty of this myself. I mean, I’ve basically adopted Canadian Thanksgiving as my own at this point (and I love it). However, up until this past April I had never joined another nation in observing one of their more solemn holidays.
Anzac Day takes place on April 25th and is a day of remembrance for all Australians and New Zealanders who served or died in war, conflict, or other peace keeping missions. It was originally established to mark the anniversary of Gallipoli, the first major military action for the two countries.
Mike and I started our day bright and early at a Dawn Service. We were lucky enough to join the service just down the beach from our place. I was heartened to see just how many people were willing to turn up on a chilly morning in the dark. We listened to an address, prayers, and hymns before the lone bugler played the Last Post and Reveille just as the sun came up. To be honest, I don’t see the sunrise very often but this one was spectacular. Mike and I lingered on the beach as everyone retreated home.
Later in the day I made Anzac biscuits (more on those later) and we headed to the pub to witness the more “celebratory” aspect of Anzac Day. Of course there’s lots of drinking, but there’s also the traditional gambling game of Two-Up. It took me a little while to catch on to all of the little nuances (still don’t fully get it), but you’re basically betting on a game of heads or tails. Mike loved it. Anzac Day is the only day that Two-Up can be legally played.
As tired as I was waking up that morning, attending a Dawn Service and observing Anzac Day was completely worth it. I’m kind of a sucker for anything remotely patriotic, even if it’s not my own country.