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Thousands remember Australia, NZ war dead

25 april 2011, 15:07
Photo courtesy of wn.com
Photo courtesy of wn.com
Photo courtesy of australiaincognita.blogspot.com
Photo courtesy of australiaincognita.blogspot.com
Tens of thousands of Australians and New Zealanders turned out in wet weather Monday for annual ANZAC Day dawn services to honour the nations' war dead, AFP reports.

April 25 is the anniversary of the ill-fated landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at Gallipoli in modern-day Turkey during World War I, and the day has become one of remembrance in the neighbouring countries.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard addressed a small morning ceremony at South Korea's war memorial in Seoul, paying tribute to the more than 100,000 Australians who have died in war, including 10 killed last year in Afghanistan.

"Each of them one of us; each of them lost to us now; each in essence an ordinary Australian who we asked to do an extraordinary thing," Gillard said of the soldiers, during an official visit to Seoul.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd spoke at a service in the northern French town of Villers-Bretonneux while his New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully attended annual formalities at the site of the 1915-1916 Gallipoli battles.

New Zealand Veterans' Affairs Minister Judith Collins, who attended a service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, said the bloody WWI campaign had forged an enduring bond between the two countries.

"Those men, many of whom did not survive the Gallipoli campaign, or who were badly wounded, helped forge the ANZAC spirit that lives on in New Zealanders and Australians today.

"We saw this during the recent Christchurch earthquake and Queensland floods when emergency services personnel from both countries worked shoulder to shoulder to help victims."

The Turkish ambassador to New Zealand, Ali Yakital, told a dawn service in Wellington that he was filled with emotion and that a great mutual respect between the countries had grown out of the horrors of war.

More than 10,000 Australian and New Zealand servicemen serving under overall British command died in the failed eight-month campaign in Gallipoli, which served to elevate the national consciousness of both the young countries.

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