‘100 years ago, the first ANZAC troops came ashore in what we now call ANZAC Cove. Instead of the open spaces that had been described to them, they landed there with steep hills rising in front of a narrow beach. And in those hills, Ottoman Turkish soldiers were already positioned and ready to defend their land. 100 years ago, both sides were doing what they believed was right, and what they believed was necessary. There was something else the ANZAC troops landing here at Gallipoli did not know as they first struggled onto this foreign soil. It was that their bravery and unity would help to forge the ANZAC bond and reputation that endures to this day.’ John Keys, New Zealand Prime Minister, Gallipoli Dawn Service 2015.
On Friday 24 April the Ellenbrook Christian College Humanities Department together with students from all year groups organised an ANZAC commemoration to honour not only the diggers of WWI but also the soldiers and nurses who have served in our forces to protect all Australians. Students from Years 4 to 12 as well as parents and staff reflected on a poignant and respectful ANZAC Assembly in remembrance of the WWI soldiers. The assembly was moving, encouraging and approached with appropriate pride in our country and the men and women who have served.
Our Bush Ranger Cadets, led by Mr Phipps, formally opened the proceedings by marching into the gymnasium to present the Australian flag in a professional and respectful manner. The effort, time and practice the Cadets put in to this part of the service was clearly evident.
Other students who were involved in making this service as memorable as it was were Shari from Year 9 who opened and closed the assembly in prayer honouring our Lord. Year 10 student Michelle, our Master of Ceremonies spoke with insight, grace and poise. Alissa, also in Year 10, wrote and presented a poignant speech as well as a visual media display on the 'war to end all wars'. Year 10 student Amy, recited an original poem with passion and insight into a soldier's plight and Elorah, Maddi and Michael, our Year 12 musical ensemble performed a rendition of Waltzing Matilda with class, pride and decorum.
Many students, parents and staff commented after the assembly on how they were encouraged and touched and that it was an honouring ANZAC service. Staff and students worked as a team to uplift the ANZAC spirit. Because the ANZAC’s rose to their challenges, we believe that it’s a little easier for us to rise to ours. Their example, we believe, helps us to be better than we would otherwise be.
‘The official historian, Charles Bean, said of the original ANZACs, “Their story rises as it will always rise, above the mists of ages, a monument to great hearted men; and, for their nation a possession forever."
Yes, they are us; and when we strive enough for the right things, we can be more like them.
So much has changed in one hundred years but not the things that really matter. Duty, selflessness, moral courage: always these remain the mark of a decent human being. They gave us an example; now, let us be worthy of it. They were as good as they could be in their time; now, let us be as good as we can be in ours. Tony Abbot, Prime Minister, Australia, ANZAC address, ANZAC Cove 2015.
Lest We Forget