Dozens gather in the pre-dawn hours for ANZAC Day commemoration

anzac dayBy Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
April 25, 2017
Pohnpei—In the pre-dawn hours dozens of people gathered together at the Kangaroo Court, the Royal Australian Navy housing complex, to commemorate ANZAC Day.
The 25th of April, ANZAC Day, is one of Australia's and New Zealand’s most important national commemorative events marking the anniversary of the first major military action involving Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. Around the world and in every city and town in Australia and New Zealand, commemoration services are held at dawn, the time of the original landing by the ANZAC’s on the beaches of Gallipoli, Turkey in 1915. It is a day when all Australians and New Zealanders reflect on the sacrifices of so many.
Chief Petty Officer Johnny O’Keefe served as the Master of Ceremonies. Lt. Commander Luke Andrews gave the call to commemoration drawing attention to the hardships that service personnel endured as a result of conflict in the First World War, not just during the Gallipoli campaign, but on other battlefields as well. He described the fifteen values enshrined above the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier, and said that those values should not be lost in the defense of basic freedoms.
The Youth for Change choir performed and excellent rendition of “Abide With Me”.
Australia’s Charge d’Affaires, Eliza Woolcock spoke next. “Australians and New Zealanders had fought in battle before April 1915 but as part of another nation’s forces. We commemorate this as ANZAC Day because it is the anniversary of the first time they fought under the flags of their own countries,” she said.
“This is a day of remembrance for the fallen, and of the returned. The words ‘we will remember them’, and ‘lest we forget’, are always part of these services...While all wars are tragedies, we must not diminish the sacrifices of those who gave everything, who put their own lives at risk to protect others from the atrocity of further war. Harry Emerson Fosdick says, ‘the tragedy of war is that it uses man's best, to do man's worst.’
“We do not glorify war, but we are grateful for the willingness of service men and women to put their lives at risk for the good of others; to work together to protect values, and people, not only of their time, but also for future generations unknown to them,” she said.
After he speech, representatives of several nations participated in the laying of wreaths at the ANZAC shrine.
LCDR Andrews’ daughter Charlize read the Ode to the Fallen after which the Last Post was sounded as national flags were lowered to half-mast by Lachlan Andrews and Brayden O’Keefe with the assistance of their fathers.
The gathered crowd participated in one minute of silence after which Reveille was sounded while the national flags were raised to mast head.
The national anthems of New Zealand and Australia were played.
After the solemn ceremony, a traditional, hearty “Gun Fire Breakfast” was served on the compound.