Greek Evzones, members of the Presidential Guard, took part in the Anzac and Wreath Laying Ceremony on Monday at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, hosted by the Victorian Returned Services League.
Anzac Day, April 25th, is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
— Boring Margat (@margatbore) April 21, 2022
This is also the day when Australians commemorate all those who have served and died in war and in operational services.
The march began at 9 am from Princes Bridge. Veterans from WWII through to those currently serving participated, as did many family members and descendants.
This year’s ANZAC Day march was led by Vietnam veterans Gary Taylor OAM (Navy), Peter Liefman OAM (Army), and David Grierson OAM (RAAF). The leaders represented the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Australia entering the Vietnam War.
It commemorates the date the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed at Gallipoli, Turkey on April 25, 1915, marking the first time the two armies fought together away from home for the noble ideas of freedom and democracy.
It is also a remembrance day for the 102,000 Australians who sacrificed their lives.
It was the first campaign for the Anzacs, a year after World War I (1914-1918) broke out. The aim was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul) and force the Ottoman Empire out of the war, as the Ottomans were allied with Germany.
The Anzacs joined Britain, France, and Russia in the Gallipoli Campaign. The campaign is often considered to be the beginning of Australian and New Zealand national consciousness.
The Gallipoli campaign lasted eight months with fierce battles that cost the lives of dozens of thousands of deaths on both sides. The ANZAC casualties included 8,709 Australians and 2,779 New Zealanders while 19,441 Australians and 5,212 New Zealanders were wounded.
Yet, the Gallipoli Battle was the only battle won by the Ottomans, forcing the allies to withdraw from the area and move to Egypt.
The ANZACs in Greece
Twenty-five years after Gallipoli, the Anzacs returned to the Mediterranean for World War II. Over 17,000 brave men served with distinction in the Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign.
On April 6, 1941, the Battle in Greece, which was one of the first engagements of the Australian Army against the Nazis in World War II, took place.
Many of the Anzacs of Greece and Crete had also fought in Gallipoli and are known as rare “Dual Anzacs.” Several of the Anzacs of Greece and Crete stemmed from Greek-Australian migrant families.
The Greek and Crete Campaign included Australia’s highest-ranked Indigenous Australian soldier, Captain Reginald Saunders, who was supported and saved by the Cretan people for nearly a year. Their human bonds comprise a vital Australian story.