Looking at the ANZAC Spirit in our community.
Each year ANZAC Day serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made during war. Commemorating the Australian & New Zealand lives lost to military operations. We see red poppies, visit dawn services, watch parades, eat ANZAC biscuits, and even visit our local RSL for a game of two-up. We listen to the stories, tales, and adventures that service men and women have experienced and use this day to honour them and their sacrifices.
Where did ANZAC Day originate? On the 25th of April 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers set out to seize the Gallipoli peninsula. The battle for this area met fierce resistance and fighting continued for eight months. Over this duration 8,000 Australian soldiers were killed, and lasting impact of their sacrifices are still felt on home soil today. Now, we mark this day to remember their sacrifice and the powerful legacy left by these courageous individuals. ANZAC Day was officially recognised and named in 1916, a year after the initial landing.
A Red Poppy, or more specifically the Flanders’ Poppy, is viewed as one of those iconic symbols of the ANZACs. During the First World War red poppies scattered the battlefields of northern France & Belgium, becoming closely tied with the loss and death experienced on those same fields. In 1921, the Red Poppy was officially adopted as an emblem that would honour the fallen and bring solstice to the living – an emblem of remembrance.
“The Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia and other Returned Soldiers Organisations throughout the British Empire and Allied Countries have passed resolutions at their international conventions to recognise the Poppy of Flanders’ Fields as the international memorial flower to be worn on the anniversary of Armistice Day.” – Australian Army
Now we wear a Red Poppy to continually keep the memories of sacrifice alive. Proceeds from the sale of poppies go toward raising funds and supporting community initiatives for our veteran heroes.
A story about the ANZAC spirit in our community we wanted to share this year is from the mum of our Community & Sports Manager, Jenny. Her mum, Dawn, has been knitting and crocheting beautiful pieces for our soldiers since she was 10 years old! Back when she was in school, Dawn and her friends would go to their local Armidale Red Cross Office and knit for the soldiers of World War II. She continued crocheting for other wars throughout the years and carried on her support of our local heroes.
Dawn began creating her poppies we know and love now specifically from the 95th Anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, perfecting her own unique design over the years. Dawn has even had her incredible creations made into a wreath and laid at the Gallipoli Memorial site for the 100th year Anniversary!
“Red Poppies can glow like bright little lamps on our warm winter coats. And they can whisper, like long-lost voices from the forgotten fields of Flanders.” – Moira Andrew
The poppies Dawn creates are of two distinct colours, each symbolising something different.
Red Poppies are the more common of the recognised poppy variations. These poppies are the emblem for the fallen soldiers of war and allow us to remember the human sacrifice they made for our freedom.
Purple Poppies again represent the remembrance of sacrifice but are specifically recognising the animals of war. Also known as the ‘Animal Poppy’, we use this symbolism to remember the four-legged heroes that served our nation. These include horses, donkeys, dogs, camels, and birds.
Dawn is now 93 and still creating these gorgeous red and purple poppies every year for our soldiers. This year she will be donating her poppies to Armidale Legacy, where proceeds from the sales will support their work in caring for the families of fallen or seriously injured veterans.
Alongside her poppy creations, Dawn also writes beautiful poems about the ANZACs and their spirit. Here is one of her pieces;
We gather to remember,
On this April Day,
Our service personnel,
Who fought a war,
In a land, so far away,
They landed on a rocky shore,
With gunfire raining down,
There they died a heroes death,
And became from “down under”,
Our very first ANZACs,
Their tenacity and courage,
Earnt them in history’s page,
A special place within our hearts,
Australia has come of age,
We remember, with our ANZACs,
The New Zealand Fighting Core,
Who with Australians over there,
Became famous in folklore,
And since that day, so long ago,
Our services where ‘ere they fought,
Have always been the best there is,
For they have kept alive,
In many a troubled land,
The spirit of those first ANZACs,
Who died in a foreign land.
Just another beautiful local story on the tradition of honouring our ANZAC heroes. Perfectly embodying our vision of making a significant difference in our community! If you want to see some of Dawn’s poppies in-person, our lovely team will be wearing them on ANZAC Day around our club.