Anzac Day commemoration begins Sunday

CANAKKALE (AA) – Thousands of New Zealanders and Australians are expected to flock to the beaches of Gallipoli Peninsula in western Turkey to commemorate the fallen soldiers during World War I ahead of the official commemoration day Sunday.

Anzac Day’s official ceremony takes place at the Gallipoli Peninsula on April 24-25. Some 19 countries are expected to be represented at the opening ceremony Sunday.

This year marks 101tst anniversary of the conflict in the Dardanelles Strait, which became a turning point for Turks fighting against the invading Allies during WWI.

Tens of thousands of Turkish nationals and soldiers died in the eight-month campaign, along with tens of thousands of Europeans, plus between 7,000 – 8,000 Australians and nearly 3,000 New Zealanders.

On Thursday, several grandchildren of Anzac soldiers laid hand-knitted poppies on the graves of soldiers. The poppies are believed to symbolize the fallen soldiers during the eight-month-long war.

In total, a group of 20 students aged between 11 and 16 from the West Ryde school in Sydney, Australia, visited the Ari Burnu cemetery in Anzac Cove. They also held a minute of silence.

On behalf of the group Timothy Pinzone said “the poppy has been known as the flower of the war, so it symbolizes the blood of all those had died in a fighting for what they believed in and sacrifices they made for their countries, people and nations. It shows that it didn’t matter where they would fight because they believed it was something worth fighting for.”

Timothy said he thought Turkey was a lovely country and that he enjoyed his stay.

Another student, Oliva Forest, 11, said regarding Anzac soldiers: “It is quite sad to see some of the soldiers of very young age that died and they had so much more to live for. Instead they fought for our country and helped us.”