JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --
Australian, New Zealand and U.S. military members commemorated the 103rd anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps Day Dawn Service at the George MacArthur Memorial Museum in Norfolk, Virginia, April 25, 2018.
This day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during World War I, where more than 8,000 Australian soldiers died. The service also paid respect to all Australians who have lost their lives in military and peacekeeping operations.
“It is extremely important that we set aside times to recognize and honor the sacrifices of our forebears, both military and civilian,” said Squadron Leader Maj. Warwick Edwards, Australian liaison officer to the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing. “It serves as an occasion to remind ourselves of our duty and commitment to the values that make our nations virtuous and prosperous.”
On April 25, 1915, Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli, Turkey, and battled with the Ottoman Turkish defenders. The campaign lasted eight months and at the end of 1915, the allied forces were evacuated from the peninsula with both sides suffering heavy casualties.
“I find the occasion to be particularly moving and the service this year was no different,” said Warwick. “To have representation from 16 foreign allies and partners, from all services, highlighted the international reverence and kinship to the values of the ANZAC tradition.”
The event began with opening remarks and a presentation by the MacArthur Memorial historian, James Zobel, along with the Norfolk State University Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps color guard presenting the flags. The U.S. Army chaplain provided opening prayers and the ANZAC day address was presented by U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Bo Dyess, director, Army Capabilities and Integration Center.
To conclude, a wreath was laid to honor the fallen, there was one minute of silence and both the Australian and New Zealand national anthems were played. Australian and U.S. military members shared breakfast after the service.
“Beyond recognizing the importance of the day itself, I believe it is vital to know and understand the culture and traditions of the partners with whom we work,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Heidi Kaufman, 27th Intelligence squadron assistant director of operations. “Celebrating this occasion provides an opportunity to learn more about a key event in history that has such a strong influence on the partnership between Australia and the United States. Growing a deeper understanding of the ties between our countries and the events that shaped them, helps us foster a better partnership for current efforts.”
“I have had the privilege of working with U.S. military and government personnel across many operational theatres, including Iraq and Afghanistan,” Warwick said. “I have been able to forge many enduring, strong relationships with them and their families. To have the Honor Guard for this service, represented by U.S. military personnel, and to have Maj. Gen. Bo Dyess provide the address, highlights the great bond and mutual respect of our respective militaries.”