2012-04-25      Anzac Day

Today in Australia and New Zealand is a public holiday to remember the soldiers who died in World War I at the Battle of Gallipoli in Turkey which began on April 25, 1915. The name "Anzac" comes from "Australian and New Zealand Army Corps".

The battle itself was a big defeat for the "Allies" and a major victory for the Turks. But the battle became a symbol in Australia and New Zealand for bravery and courage. About 60,000 Australian soldiers and 18,000 New Zealand soldiers died in World War I.  More Australian soldiers died in WWI than American soldiers - such was Australia's commitment to support Britain in its war against Germany.

Anzac Day is now a day to remember all the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who died in all wars, especially WWI and WWII.   In Australia and New Zealand today, there will be ceremonies to remember the dead, and to pray for peace.

Many people now regard WWI as having been a great mistake which in turn led to WWII. Many people are very critical of the way leaders committed their countries to war. In his book "The Age of Consent", George Monbiot (who writes for the Guardian newspaper in the UK) says "In the First World War, a few dozen aristocrats sent eight million men to die in the name of nationhood". He also laments the fact that "since the end of WWII, about 30,000,000 people have been killed in armed conflicts. Most of them were civilians".

Monbiot's point is that war is not the way to solve problems. May the human family find other ways to avoid future conflicts.