The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted daily life and prevented large public gatherings around the world.
As a result, New Zealand and Australia have had to cancel a major national anniversary for the first time in history.
ANZAC Day, or Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, marks an important century-old historical event that shapes the identities of these two countries. It memorializes soldiers who served and sacrificed for their nations during WWI.
Instead of attending traditional ceremonies, thousands of citizens stood outside their driveways at dawn and listened to virtual services over radios. They played music and held candles and flowers to honor fallen soldiers and pay tribute.
Why is ANZAC day so special?
Unlike many commemorations, ANZAC day honors brave soldiers who fought in World War 1, many of whom lost their lives.
ANZAC day was Australia and New Zealand’s first great military activity on the global level. Both countries were young and excited to gain power and the respect of other nations.
On April 25, 1915, Australia and New Zealand Army Corps stormed Gallipoli, Turkey on behalf of the Allies. Their goal was to capture the capital of the Ottoman Empire, as it sided with Germany. However, the Ottomans fought hard in defense, and the campaign extended for eight months.
After massive casualties on both ends, the Allies were forced to retreat. Over 11,000 ANZAC soldiers, or ⅙ of those who were sent, died serving their countries. Even though the ANZAC campaign collapsed, it left a huge legacy in Australia and New Zealand where people honor the sacrifices made for their countries.
Sources: BBC, AlJazeera, awm.gov.au