A blanketing hush fell on the audience when the lone U.S. Marine bugler played “Last Post,” the Australian and New Zealand version of “Taps.”
The ceremony held at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 25, 2016 served to remind the audience of the impact of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, or ANZAC, at the Battle of Gallipoli, where approximately 9,000 Australians and 3,000 New Zealanders made the ultimate sacrifice.
Marines from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment march down the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, to “Waltzing Matilda,” a famous Australian ballad, April 25, 2016. This is the 44th year U.S. Marines have participated in the commemoration of the Australia New Zealand Army Corps Day, highlighting a long-lasting friendship between the three countries. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Robert Sweet)
The U.S. Marine Corps studied the Battle of Gallipoli extensively, especially the withdrawal from the peninsula, allowing them to develop and enhance their amphibious doctrine during major battles in World War II.
The “ANZAC spirit” emerged after the war back home as a result of the courageous efforts of the ANZAC soldiers, which ultimately consolidated into the modern-day Australian and New Zealand ethos and identity.
"Gallipoli marks the first time that people really thought of themselves as New Zealanders and Australians where two nations were forged in the mud and blood of Gallipoli," said Sir Jim McLay, New Zealand Consulate-General. "So it is every year at ANZAC Day where we acknowledge that it was them at Gallipoli who had attributes of bravery, tenacity, practicality, ingenuity, and personal loyalty that helped define our countries."
ANZAC Day ceremonies take place all over the world; this was the 44th year the Marine Corps supported the ceremony in Hawaii, honoring the long-lasting friendship between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
This multilateral commemoration compelled the audience to reflect on what it means for military members to sacrifice their lives for something greater than themselves.
U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific color guardsmen bows their heads during prayer at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific during Australia New Zealand Army Corps Day, April 25, 2016. This is the 44th year U.S. Marines have participated in the commemoration ceremony, highlighting the long-lasting friendship between the three countries. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Robert Sweet)
"It is particularly poignant that we gather here at this beautiful but solemn sad place and too many other places like it around the world where the remains of thousands of heroic souls lie in often unfamiliar foreign soil, but always in the embrace of a grateful nation," said Jeff Robinson, Australian Consulate-General. "Those men and women surrounded in these fields here, those individuals -- ordinary people -- called upon to do the extraordinary: gave their lives, their futures serving a bigger purpose for us."
ANZAC Day is about honoring and supporting the legacy and tradition those men – and service members from all over who sacrificed their lives – passed on to future generations. Members from the Polynesian Cultural Center performed a "Haka," which is an ancestral war chant from the indigenous Maori tribe from New Zealand.
“The ANZAC story speaks to us of pride and our respective country of who we are as Australians and New Zealanders of a quiet confidence born out of sacrifice,” said Brigadier John Boswell, Assistant Chief of Strategic Commitments and Engagements of New Zealand Defence Force. “It speaks to us of nations of ordinary people doing extraordinary actions for their friends, and it speaks to us of the horror of war and the need to build peace.”
By U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Robert Sweet
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