The Senior School came together to Commemorate ANZAC on Tuesday, 24 April. We particularly thank our College Leaders for offering prayers, readings and poems, our choir for singing, Jack Luke-Paredi for playing The Last Post and Rouse, and Jack Hellier, Oliver Boyer and Callum McClure – our flight of Airforce Cadets – who were our Memorial Wardens. A special thank you goes to Ahmet and Esra Cuhadaroglu who presented a very moving address which is reproduced below.
To quote Mustafa Ataturk, Turkish Army General and, later, founder of the Republic of Turkey:
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives ... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore, rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmet’s to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours ... You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are at peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.
What we can interpret from this quote by Ataturk? We should not dwell on the result of this colossal battle, whether it was a win or loss; rather, we should focus on the heroism, sacrifice, courage and, ultimately, friendship shown by these men.
Deprivation of food and water, something that could be identified as a crisis to us, seemed of minimal importance to them. Diseases such as tetanus and dysentery were part of their everyday lives. All just the tip of the iceberg to the true horrors of war.
What we know as ‘heroism’ was ultimately redefined by these brave soldiers who, despite the cruel conditions they faced, fought for the future generations of their countries. They were left with no choice but to search for the courage to risk ever seeing their families and loved ones ever again. The horrific fear of knowing that your life will come to an end at any second became an inescapable reality. Yet, these soldiers still held their ground and fought for their country.
After the battle had ended, there were captured ANZAC soldiers on enemy ground. In that instant, the soldiers were most likely wishing they lost their lives to the battle? Some of the Turkish generals suggested they should kill the ANZACs but Ataturk did not approve of such action. He gave the ANZACs shelter and food instead.
What is to be remembered about this battle is the fact that, despite the sacrifice, there was no sign of hatred – only courage, mutual respect and true brotherhood. There is a sense of peace, humanity and friendship which has developed between our countries. What an amazing thing it is that we could decipher such amazing traits of humanity from this battle.
May all soldiers rest in peace as they gave their today, to save our tomorrow.
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