Anzac day… what an emotional experience.
I probably not the right person to be taking about this, as soon as the horn blows & the anthem plays, I remember all those that have died & end up all teary eyed. The whole experience is exhausting, but if you ever get the chance to attend, it will be one you never forget. The night prior, I arrived at the site at around 6pm, the sun was almost gone & it was getting cold.
There must have already been a couple of hundred people there, they had their sleeping bags out (a must have) & were lying on the grass area getting comfortable for the night. I opted for a seat in stand, close to the ground so it had better coverage from the cold wind. What a long night in the elements, you just can’t imagine what it would have been like to come onto that shore.
Over the night officials talk & they show short films, there’s small stalls where you can get food & tea to warm up & the port-a-loos were in great condition all night. With barely any sleep, dawn rolls in & we stand for the dawn service. The first service is over before I know it & we are following the crowd up the hill to Lone Pine, the walk wakes & warms me up.
This time I find a spot on the grass, again we gather together to remember, there’s more tears & feelings of congregation. After the Australian service, we watch the New Zealand service on the big screens at Lone Pine. Then the long wait for our bus to appear from the hundreds of buses snaking along the small tar road to carry the thousands of people moving on back to Istanbul (around a 5 hr drive), or going south to see more of this beautiful & historic country.
The Australian, New Zealand & the Turkish government run a smooth operation & work well together & lastly I would like to say that it’s so great to see the relationship that has been built between our countries after all the hardships of the past.
By Jane Laird