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Anzac Day is a National Day of Remembrance in Aotearoa New Zealand and in Australia, commemorating all New Zealanders and Australians killed in war, and honouring returned servicemen and women.
The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, who first served in the Gallipoli Campaign against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. Anzac Day is observed on the 25th of April, the date ANZAC forces landed at Gallipoli in 1915, and has been observed as a public holiday in New Zealand since 1920, after lobbying by the New Zealand Returned Services Association (RSA) resulted in the Anzac Day Act.
Used in many countries as a symbol of war remembrance on Armistice Day, the 11th of November, the red poppy is more commonly seen on Anzac Day in Aotearoa New Zealand. Paper poppies are sold in the weeks preceding Anzac Day, with the donations received funding support services for veterans. 2022 marked the 100th anniversary of the RSA’s Poppy Appeal.
Anzac Day is observed at war memorial sites throughout New Zealand and Australia, and elsewhere throughout the world. Commemoration typically begins with the dawn service. Returned servicemen and women and military personnel march pre-dawn to the local war memorial, where they are joined by other members of the community.
The service takes the form of a military funeral, following a set pattern of proceedings, with prayer, hymns, and a dedication concluding with a verse from Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For the Fallen’:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Anzac Day is observed on the 25th of April every year.