Anzac Day Dawn Service: why it’s worth rising for

Many of my British friends have asked me why I’ll be waking up at 3am to attend one of the Anzac Day Dawn Service in London.


ANZAC DAY: Across the globe on April 25th, millions of Australians and New Zealanders rise in the early hours of the morning to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli landings by Anzac soldiers in the First World War.

It’s hard to articulate the impact that the Anzac Day legend has had on the evolution of the Aussie and Kiwi cultural identities. It’s just a part of who we are. The soldiers who landed on the beaches of Turkey 100 years ago have become immortalised in the storybook of our nations’ humble histories. It’s a story that we learn from our parents and discuss in classrooms at school.

At dawn they landed on the beaches of Gallipoli, and at dawn we rise on the same day each year to pay our respects to Australian and New Zealand soldiers who have fought in conflicts globally.

In the weeks leading up to Anzac Day we read through diary entries and letters home, look at photographs and contemplate the kind of country that we are still moulding in the memory of those who died.

What I find particularly moving at Anzac Day services in London is the involvement of Turkish diplomatic officials and the acknowledgement of the hardships experienced on both sides on the battlefield.

We rise for the Dawn Service because it is tradition, and the first glimpses of sun peering through the clouds helps to remind us that peace is always beautiful.

Lest we forget.