What is ANZAC Day?

ANZAC Day is one of Australia's most important national events. It's on the 25th April. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during World War 1. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated, after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers had been killed. News of the landing on Gallipoli had made a profound impact on Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in the war.

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How do we commemorate it?

It is the day on which we remember ANZACs who served and died in World War 1, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The spirit of Anzac, with its human qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity. Many people wear red poppies on their shirts resembling the poppies, (red flowers) that were one of the first plants to bloom in the mud and soil of Flanders around the bodies of fallen soldiers. Poppies can also resemble the blood in the war.

In Canberra the Memorial, in close cooperation with Returned and Services League of Australia ACT, hosts the Dawn Service and the National Anzac Day Ceremony.The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commemorative Ceremony will be held after the Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Aboriginal Memorial plaque on the side of Mount Ainslie. In addition to the Dawn Service and National Ceremony on 25 April 2015, the Australian War Memorial will have commemorative activities taking place throughout the Anzac Day long weekend in 2015, to mark the centenary of the landing on Gallipoli.