Why Australia & New Zealand observe Anzac Day on April 25
Thousands of people assembled at various events organised across Australia and New Zealand on Wednesday, April 25, to mark the 103rd occasion of Anzac Day - the historic day when all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars and peacekeeping operations are remembered.
Observed on April 25 each year, the Anzac Day was initially fixed to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought against the Ottoman Empire at Gallipoli Peninsula during World War 1 (1914-1918). It is also observed in some other places like Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue and others. Ad landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula to capture the Dardanelles - the gateway to the Black Sea but in vain. Several thousands lost their lives and they included over 8,000 Australians and nearly 3,000 New Zealanders.
Anzac Day was first observed on April 25, 1916, through events in Australia and England. On that day 102 years ago, some 2,000 Anzac troops marched through the streets of London. A memorial service was also held at Westminster Abbey which was attended by King George V and his wife, Queen Mary.
A sports day was also conducted at the Australian Army camp in Egypt.
Speaking on the occasion on Wednesday, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull praised the Australian martyrs who fought valiantly to re-take the French village of Villers-Bretonneux from the German forces a century ago. He was at the war cemetery at Villers-Bretonneux in North France and was accompanied by dignitaries among who was Britain's, Prince Charles.
Turnbull said the Australian troops' actions helped pave way for the victory of the Allied power on the western front.
Several Australian and New Zealanders also went to Turkey's Gallipoli Peninsula to participate in the dawn services on the beaches where the Anzac troops had landed.
In New Zealand, floral tributes were paid to the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Wellington which represented the fallen heroes of the country in the First World War.
Events were observed in major Australian cities like Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne to mark the day amid beefed up security.