Much of this morning was taken up with watching the ceremony at the Cenotaph for the ANZAC Day commemorations. The next few years will see many centenaries from the war and this was probably one of the most significant. The combined forces of the Australian and New Zealand armies not only partook in an unglamorous conflict but by doing so they forged two new nations.
Until this operation there was a tendency to see themselves as an extension of the 'mother country' something that has occurred time and again down through the centuries. The British Isles sent many to these to land masses, sometimes unwillingly, and it was the war of 1914 that brought the realisation that these two nations were just that, nations, not an extension of anyone else.
The Anzacs had a tough and difficult time at Gallipoli and later played a part in operation in the Sinai desert. In 1916 they were transferred to the harder still fighting in France serving at Poziers on the Somme.
The contribution to the war effort by the Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Indian and many other nations cannot be overlooked. Too often however that is what happens. Today the ceremony brought them to the fore and also added contributions from their former enemies the Turks! They too cannot be ignored.
Fighting soldiers are usually the first to be pacifists when war threatens but the first into battle when peace breaks down. Those who know war are the first to avoid it! These men are also the first to welcome gatherings like this where former enemies meet to commemorate and live new lives.