ANZAC Day 2015 Dawn Service
Australian Embassy, Vientiane
25 April 2015
Thanks Anthony, for that reading. Anthony Goffin, a high school student here in Vientiane, is 17 years old. The same age as many of the young men, huddled in their boats, approaching the beachhead at ANZAC Cove a century ago, at this hour.
And a similar age to many of the British troops who landed that same day at Helles, and the French at Kum Kale across the Dardanelles.
And the same, far too young an age, of many of the Turkish soldiers facing them, as the dawn broke, standing ready to defend their country.
History has exposed clearly the futility of the Gallipoli campaign. And the heroic resilience displayed, and deprivations suffered, by the soldiers from all nationalities.
Over half a million casualties on both sides. None of the more than one million combatants left unscathed after eight months of fighting.
That the nations involved lost so many of our youth, only adds to the epic tragedy of Gallipoli.
Despite the passing of time, Gallipoli and the ANZAC legend continue to have great significance for the people of Australia and New Zealand.
In part, this is a story of nation building. The men and women who served our two countries in the 1st World War were pioneers, helping to forge an identity for our young nations.
416,000 young Australians volunteered for service, from a population of 5 million. 60,000 of them never came home. 8,700 died at Gallipoli. 2,000 were casualties on that first day.
Of all the combatant nations in that five-year conflict, devoid of any virtue, only New Zealand’s contribution of personnel, per capita, was greater.
Thank you all for joining us this morning, as we pay tribute to all the men and women who have served our two nations in conflicts, and on peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.
I welcome, in particular, diplomatic colleagues and friends from the EU, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Turkey, the United States, United Kingdom and Vietnam.
Allies and adversaries in different conflicts over the years.
But today we stand together to commemorate the sacrifices of those who have served.
And to think about the futility of conflict, and to hope and pray that young men and women, regardless of their nationality, never have to face the same tragedies again, as those who fought at Gallipoli.
Lest we forget.