remembrance day at gallipoli

It just happened that my work trip to Turkey coincided with Remembrance Day on 11th November - this date marked the official end of World War I in 1918. As such, my colleague and I made a day trip to the Gallipoli Peninsula on this day to pay our tribute to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives there in the war.

It was a significantly meaningful trip for my colleague as his grandfather had fought in and just barely survived after six arduous months of fighting in the Battle of Gallipoli. Having heard a lot of such battle stories from his father (who heard from his father) all through his childhood, my colleague gave me an impromptu lesson in European war history as we drove around the peninsula from cemetery to cemetery.

Our first stop was at this spot at Anzac Cove where the first ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) troops landed on April 25, 1915. There was a Beach Cemetery right there where a lot of the soldiers who did not even survive past a day were buried.

A huge pine tree standing alone in the middle of another cemetery marks the spot where the Battle of Lone Pine took place in which my colleague's grandfather participated in. The Lone Pine Cemetery is now the resting place for 183 soldiers (all but one of them were Australians) who were known or believed to have died around that plateau and the Lone Pine Memorial that sits at the east end of the cemetery commemorates more than 4,900 Australian and New Zealand servicemen who lost their lives in this war. There were signs put up everywhere reminding all visitors to treat their surroundings with respect.

My eyes filled with tears when I read what was written on all the little notes stuck to this little wreath that was just sitting on the ground in the middle of the memorial ground. The Newhouse brothers, George and Harry, both privates, were there in 1915. George died there at the age of 23; he had no known grave. Harry was injured in Gallipoli but went on to live til a ripe old age of 101 with memories of his dear brother right until the end.

According to wikipedia: "The red poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem In Flanders Fields. These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their brilliant red colour an appropriate symbol for the blood spilt in the war."

Their name liveth for evermore.

We left when the sun was setting, with heavy hearts and dark thoughts of war and the loss of lives.

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