Over here in Australia the 25th of April was ANZAC Day and so for Wordy Wednesday I thought I would post about what ANZAC Day represents.
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, and is commemorated by both countries on 25 April every year to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I. It now more broadly commemorates all those who died and served in military operations for their countries. Anzac Day is also observed in the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tonga.
Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers were known as Anzacs. Anzac Day remains one of the most important national occasions of both Australia and New Zealand. This is a rare instance of two sovereign countries not only sharing the same remembrance day, but making reference to both countries in its name.
Also on ANZAC Day my football team Essendon plays its traditional game against rivals Collingwood. Unfortunately this year we did not win 😦 But it is always a great game, both teams acknowledging that they are privileged to be playing on this day of rememberance and there is a ceremony before the game which never fails to result in me shedding a few tears.
A little info about football on ANZAC Day:
During many wars, Australian rules football matches have been played overseas in places like northern Africa, Vietnam, and Iraq as a celebration of Australian culture and as a bonding exercise between soldiers. In 1975, the VFL/AFL first commemorated Anzac Day and the Anzac spirit with a match of Australian rules football between Essendon and Carlton in a one-off match in front of a large crowd of 77,770 at VFL Park, Waverley, with Essendon coming out winners.
The modern-day tradition began in 1995 and is played every year between traditional AFL rivals Collingwood and Essendon at the MCG. This annual blockbuster is often considered the biggest match of the AFL season outside of the finals, sometimes drawing bigger crowds than all but the Grand Final, and often selling out in advance; a record crowd of 94,825 people attended the inaugural match in 1995. The Anzac Medal is awarded to the player in the match who best exemplifies the Anzac Spirit – skill, courage, self-sacrifice, teamwork and fair play.
It certainly does have a finals feeling about the game and one year I shall make it there!