HONOLULU, Hawaii --
Aussie. Kiwi. Yankee. Military and civilians from each background all came together to commemorate the Australia-New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Day at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, April 25.
This year’s ceremony marked the 97th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli by the ANZACs. The Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey, was a battle space that granted control to the Black Sea during World War I. The annual ceremony has been held since 1916, the year after nearly 11,000 ANZAC soldiers lost their lives in an attempt to seize this land. In total, 61,000 Australians and 11,000 New Zealanders would make the ultimate sacrifice in WWI. Now, the ceremony commemorates all sacrifices made in every war by the ANZACs since.
“The story of the ANZAC is a story that deserves to be told again and again, and by doing it we honor those men,” said The Honorable Scott Dewar, Australian Consulate-General to Honolulu. “Today we’re pay homage to those who gave before, and honor those who fight today.”
This year also marked the 40th year that a ceremony has been held in Honolulu, and that U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, has facilitated all military support for the ceremony.
“We participate in ANZAC Day because the U.S. Marine Corps has a ‘kinship’ with the Australian and New Zealand military that stretches back almost 100 years,” said Craig B. Whelden, executive director, MarForPac. “These two countries have been great friends and allies and continue to support us throughout the world. One small way to show our appreciation is by supporting the annual ANZAC Day Ceremony at the Punchbowl.”
Whelden said that Marines can find a lot in common with their ANZAC allies and that if they did some research they would find numerous similarities.
“I would suggest they watch the Peter Weir film ‘Gallipoli’ and draw their own conclusions,” he said. “ I think they'll see that the warrior spirit that runs through the U.S. Marine Corps exists in other nations' militaries as well -- particularly those of Australia and New Zealand.”
Many strategic-level leaders are already very familiar with the battle, as it has largely shaped the Marine Corps’ 20th century tactics. The Battle of Gallipoli was the only major amphibious assault of WWI and is still studied and taught today.
Marines of WWII should also be familiar with the ANZAC, after having fought alongside them to defend Australia and New Zealand.
Col. Jay T. Arnett, deputy chief of staff for MarForPac, said the ceremony reminds of us of our shared history.
“Today's ceremony highlights the close and personal relationship we share with Australia and New Zealand,” he said. “It is a strong and enduring relationship which has been forged in the crucible of combat together. Our relationship is strong and continues to grow today and in the future.”
“Today our Marines are in both Australia and New Zealand in the field training and exercising together,” he added. “We honor their fallen on ANZAC Day as our brothers in arms.”