Service members from the United States, Australia and New Zealand Armed Forces joined together to commemorate Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Day at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) here, April 25.
In a fantastic display of discipline and movement, a formation of Marines took their place on the steps below Lady Columbia, followed by two Marine color guard details.
One detail presented the U.S. and Marine Corps flags and the other carried the Australian and New Zealand flags. As the calls were given, the audience of service members, distinguished guests and civilians stood for all three nation’s national anthems.
“ANZAC is a day and an opportunity for Australians and New Zealanders to honor and reflect on the sacrifices of those who have fought for our countries,” said the Honorable Ian Hill, deputy chief of mission, New Zealand Embassy to the United States. “In particular, those who have made the ultimate sacrifice [for their country].”
The anniversary symbolizes the first key military battle fought by Australian and New Zealand forces in 1915, during the World War I on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey.
“It’s difficult to imagine two contexts more different than the scene on this tranquil hillside in Hawaii and the calamity that erupted when the Australian and New Zealand Arms Corp, the ANZACs, landed in Gallipoli, in Turkey 93 years ago,” said the Honorable David Binns, Consul-General of Australia. “But, at the same time I’m very mindful that there’s a particular meaning and significance in commemorating ANZAC day with so many.”
Binns gave a brief history of the bloody battle taking place on the beach and the impact the battle made on those who fought in it.
ANZAC day has been observed annually in Hawaii since 1973 and is commemorated every April 25.
To commemorate the service members who fought in the battles, wreaths were placed in front of the Honolulu Memorial at the foot of the steps.
Representatives laying the wreathes included U.S. Navy Adm. Timothy Keating, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Rex McMillian, deputy commander, MARFORPAC, U.S Army Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific, and other component military commands in Hawaii.
Representatives from Japan, the Philippines, Korea and other supporting allied nations were also present to pay tribute to the fallen.
Silence came over the crowd as each wreath took its place, reminding them of each battle won or lost and the lives they took with them.
Last to pay respects was Mrs. Dorothy Rose Babineau, presenting a bouquet of flowers in memory of her father, Julius S. Fisher, who was killed in Singapore in Feb. 1942 during World War II.
Hill then read a short verse called “The Ode,” which originated from “For the Fallen,” a poem used in commemoration services in Australia since 1921.
“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.” Were the words falling upon the ears of the present, reminding them one last time of the fallen service members.
To conclude the ceremony, “The Last Post” was played by a lone bugler, followed by a three-volley salute from a seven-Marine rifle detail and the playing of “Reveille,” giving those in attendance one more moment to remember the fallen.
“ANZAC Day is a day for Australians and New Zealanders to think about what they lost and what they gained,” Binns said.