By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jay C. Pugh, Commander, Task Force 73 Public Affairs
SINGAPORE (NNS) -- Senior officials from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and countries across the Asia Pacific region gathered for a sunrise ceremony April 25, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Day at the Kranji War Memorial Cemetery.
ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance shared by Australia and New Zealand and commemorates the Australian and New Zealand service members who fought in the Gallipoli Campaign in Turkey, against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. More than 8,000 ANZACs were killed and more than 18,000 injured in the campaign. While the operation ended in failure for the allies and a great loss of life on all sides, for the ANZAC nations it became the genesis of their national day of remembrance, and was also commemorated in Turkey with widely attended ceremonies over the weekend.
"Saturday was special as it was the centenary of the actual landings at Gallipoli. There were over 10,000 actually at Gallipoli this year including warships from New Zealand and Australia. Most of our countrymen and women make an effort to get there at some point in their lives - almost a pilgrimage for those who have completed their schooling," said Col. Craig Stewart, New Zealand Defense Advisor to Singapore.
The Singapore commemoration commenced at 6:30 a.m. at the Kranji War Memorial Cemetery to pay homage to the dawn landings at Gallipoli. Civilian and military representatives from the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore also participated in a wreath-laying ceremony.
According to Stewart, Kranji Cemetery is a Commonwealth War Cemetery. Around 2,100 Australian and 15 New Zealanders are buried there and a further 120 New Zealanders and Australians are listed on the memorial walls as missing. Normally around 1,000 attend the ANZAC service, but this year nearly 3,000 attended.
Among the delegation was Bernadette Cavanagh, High Commissioner of the New Zealand Embassy, and Philip Green, High Commissioner of the Australian Embassy. Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander, Task Force 73, and Rear Adm. Giam Hock Koon, commandant, Singapore Armed Services Military Institute, also attended.
"We remember the many service members who lost their lives during World War I and celebrate the enduring partnerships that bring our nations together," said Williams. "Today is also about honoring our longstanding alliance with Australia and our growing partnership with New Zealand with whom we share a common heritage in the Asia Pacific."
Capt. Bernard Wang, Naval Attache for the U.S. Embassy in Singapore participated in the ceremony on behalf of the U.S. Ambassador to Singapore.
"ANZAC day is a day for me to remember all who have sacrificed in war, and how it is our duty to recognize those lives that were forever changed by conflicts of men and nations," said Wang.