Hundreds of service members and civilian officials gathered to honor the memories of Australian and New Zealand service members during the 96th Annual Australian and New Zealand Army Corps Day Commemoration April 25 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, here.
The event served as a memorial to all ANZAC personnel who died in the service of their country, according to the Honorable David Binns, Australian Consul-General in Honolulu.
Australian and New Zealand forces are still serving overseas today with the same selflessness and courage of those who came before them, Binns said, a statement backed by the actions of soldiers such as Australian Army Cpl. Ben Roberts-Smith, who was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military honor an Australian service member can earn, for his actions during a 2010 deployment to Afghanistan.
In keeping with U.S. traditions of honoring those who fight by our side, officials with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific supported the memorial with a ceremonial platoon, color guards, an honors firing detail and wreath bearers, something the Marine Corps has done since 1973.
“We are deeply grateful to the U.S. Marine Corps for their support this year,” Binns said. “They have done a superb job, as they have done for many years.”
ANZAC Day is held on the anniversary of ANZACs 1915 landing in Gallipoli, Turkey.
The World War I battle was the first time ANZACs had fought in war. Despite the death of 11,000 ANZACs, Australians and New Zealanders have commemorated the attack as the moment their nations stood united and demonstrated their toughness and courage in battle.
“It seems strange that a military defeat would play such a part in our history,” said the Honorable Jane Coombs, deputy chief of mission for the New Zealand Embassy. “But it was in Gallipoli that we began to forge our own identity. It was the first time New Zealanders and Australians had fallen in support of the values and ideals we believe. In times of trouble, we come to each other’s aide. That’s what ANZAC means.”
By the end of World War I, 61,000 Australians and 18,000 New Zealanders lost their lives.
Since then, U.S. and ANZAC forces have served side by side around the world.