Anzac Day, 25 April, is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
The courage shown by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps when they landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 25 April, 1915 is legendary. It was the start of a campaign that lasted eight months and resulted in some 25,000 Australian casualties, including 8,700 who were killed or died of wounds or disease.
Anzac Day is our Memorial to honour Navy, Army and Air Force service personnel, who have paid the highest sacrifice of their lives in the fight to free us from the enemies of our country and to protect the democratic values for which we stand.
Attending Anzac ceremonies provides CEDoW communities with a chance to reflect and acknowledge past and present service men and women. It is also an opportunity to recognise any families of the Diocese currently serving in the armed forces.
Many of our schools observed Anzac Day at formal ceremonies and assemblies, joining thousands of others to remember the spirit of the ANZACs, making the Diocese proud to lead such a respectful group of young Australians.
St John the Evangelist, Nowra paid their respects at marches across the Shoalhaven. St Thomas Aquinas, Bowral attended the Bowral Anzac march, winning the ‘best presented school’ award. Good Samaritan, Fairy Meadow attended the Wollongong Schools Community Service on 12 April and St Columbkille’s, Corrimal attended two ceremonies, the first on 22 April at Corrimal Anzac Grove and the Corrimal Dawn Service on 25 April.
The Anzac Day march and service in Kiama is one of their largest community events. Each year, students and staff from Ss Peter and Paul, Kiama are always actively involved. On 25 April, people lined the streets to watch the procession of veterans, light horse troops, school and volunteer groups make their way to the Memorial Arch for the official ceremony.
Showing a great sense of respect and pride, the Ss Peter and Paul school captains read and laid wreaths, while the school choir sang the National Anthems of New Zealand and Australia and also Sailing Away, by Ian Jefferson. Choir leader Marianne Patton shared, “the song reminds us of the hope, the fear, the sense of adventure, the loss and the great unknown that is the experience of war."
Ss Peter and Paul Principal, Jacqueline Lee, said that she was “so proud of the students and their reverence, our choir were amazing and there have been so many comments from the community about the talented children."
In Bishop Brian Mascord’s message for Anzac Day, 'Forgiveness and Sacrifice', he shares a personal story about his Uncle Harry and reflects on his service in the army.
Bishop Brian reminds us that "As we gather for Anzac Day, we remember the greatest act of forgiveness, the death of Christ, his resurrection and his love for all humanity."
"Whilst for most people there’s an enthusiasm and an excitement about going to war, there’s also a laying down of one’s life, and that’s what we celebrate, that’s what we remember about Anzac Day - that men and women were prepared to lay down their life for the sake of others. We remember the laying down of life for friends, and in remembering that let’s honour those men and women who’ve done just that.”
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.