ANZAC DAY – 25th April
25 April 1915, when the Australian and New Zealand Army landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula, the ANZAC tradition was established and is still very much relevant today. The ideals of courage, endurance and mate-ship, remembered and continues to this day. It was the start of a campaign that lasted eight months and resulted in some 25,000 Australian casualties, including 8,700 who were killed or died of wounds or disease.
The men who served on the Gallipoli Peninsula created a legend, adding the word ‘ANZAC’ to the Australian and New Zealand vocabularies and creating the notion of “ANZAC spirit”. In 1916, the first anniversary of the landing was observed in Australia, New Zealand and England and by troops in Egypt. In that year, 25 April was officially named ‘ANZAC Day’ by the Acting Prime Minister, George Pearce.
Our veterans from the conflicts in Malaya, Indonesia, Korea and Vietnam have also joined the march along with those who had served with our allies and in peace keeping missions.
REMEMBRANCE DAY – 11th November
On 11 November 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after four years of continuous warfare. With their armies retreating and close to collapse, German leaders signed an Armistice, bringing to an end the First World War.
Remembrance Day in Australia commemorates the noble sacrifices of armed forces and civilians during times of war. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, one minute of silence is observed across the country to mark the cessation of hostilities after over four years of gruesome warfare, and to remember those who gave their lives serving our country.
Why do we wear a poppy?
Since 1920, the red poppy has been used as a symbol of commemoration to soldiers who have fallen in times of war. During the First World War, poppies were among the first plants to blossom on the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium.
The sight of poppies springing up amidst the ravaged battlefields of Ypres inspired Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae to write one of the most notable and popular poems of the period, In Flanders Fields.
The tradition of wearing a poppy began just before the armistice in 1918. The secretary of the American YMCA, Moina Michael, read John McCrae’s poem and was so moved by it that she decided to partake in a personal commemorative ritual of wearing a red poppy. The poppy soon became widely accepted throughout the allied nations as a symbol of remembrance which was to be worn on Armistice Day. Poppies were first sold in Australia in 1921 and continue to be sold by the RSL in the lead up to Remembrance Day every year to raise the much needed funds for the organisation’s valuable welfare work.
‘VP’ Day 15th August
Victory in the Pacific Day (VP Day) is commemorated each year on August 15. Also referred to as VJ Day (Victory over Japan), VP Day commemorates the unconditional surrender of Japan to the Allied Forces on 14 August 1945.
The following day, 15 August 1945, Prime Minister Ben Chifley announced the end of the war.
“Fellow citizens, the war is over… Let us remember those whose lives were given that we may enjoy this glorious moment and may we look forward to a peace which they have won for us.”
As a nation we will stand together on this day to remember the sacrifice of the some 39,000 men and women who died protecting our country during the War.
Frankston RSL Sub-Brach is proud to have 72 returned service men and women who served in the Australian Defence Force during the Second World War.
Vietnam Veterans Day (Long Tan Day) 18th August
Vietnam Veterans Day is commemorated on the 18th August each year. Formally known as Long Tan Day, in commemoration of the men of D Company, 6 RAR. 108 Australian and New Zealand Service men fought against over 2,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong, in a rubber plantation in the small village of Long Tan. The battle lasted 4 hours in torrential rains. After almost being overrun, a timely ammunition
restocks and the arrival of reinforcements allowed the Australian troops to prevail. 18 died and 24 were injured in what was the highest casualty operation since they had arrived in Vietnam.
On the 3rd anniversary of the battle, in 1969, the men of 6RAR erected a white cross on the battle site to commemorate their fallen comrades. From this day, the 18th August was known as Long Tan Day. Over the years that followed, the day was adopted by all Vietnam Veterans as a day to commemorate the fallen.
In 1987, after a successful ‘Welcome Home’ parade for Vietnam Veterans, then Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, announced that Long Tan Day would now be known as Vietnam Veterans Day.
Since then, is has been a day on which the services of all the men and women who served in Vietnam are remembered.