The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

During the second week of the holiday break, Rev Justine Wall sent a notice to ‘Light up the dawn at 6.00am on Anzac Day’ to all our Junior School families.  In the words of the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Darren Chester, “Anzac Day is when Australia comes together to recognise all those who have served our nation and pay tribute to the sacrifice of more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in the service of our country,”. So, to pay tribute to the ANZACs on our return to school, the Junior School will acknowledge the sacrifice of our soldiers through a small digital ceremony.

Having had the privilege of visiting Gallipoli, and as a proud Australian, I have stood on the very soil where so many souls lost their lives. It is hard to put into words what that experience was like. It was a sombre, quiet and reflective place, as are so many places across the world where you know that many lives were lost in the face of war and it is something that is hard to possibly imagine.

I distinctly remember seeing the shrapnel holes in the cliff faces on the beach front and wondering how on earth it was even possible to get from the beach, across the sand and up the cliff face. It was a remarkable feat for those who did make it and extremely costly to those who tried and failed. I stood right next to what were the remnants of the trenches and saw firsthand the barbed wire, the wooden struts and broken posts which was a very sobering moment.  I tried to piece together the horror that these young men would have been confronted with and what would have been total desperation to just stay alive in order to return home to their families. 

Taking the time to visit the well-known locations like The Nek, Lone Pine, Shrapnel Valley and Anzac Cove allowed me the opportunity to pay my respects to those who had fallen. Atatürk, who was a commander of the Ottoman forces at the Dardenelles during the first world war, wrote a lovely tribute and acknowledged the mothers whose sons did not come home.  These are his words and they stand large on the grounds at Gallipoli:

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore, rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

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